“The city of Chicago named 2020 the Year of Chicago Music, and this week was supposed to be Cabaret Week.
“Chicago Tonight visited a few jazz and cabaret folks to see how they’re coping. Here’s a small window into a vast music scene that’s currently singing the blues.
“It was a roadhouse when it opened in 1907 and later an Al Capone hangout. Performers over the years have included Billie Holiday and Al Jolson. But the neon lights of the Green Mill in Uptown will be dark tonight. Inside, the heat isn’t on but a veteran local musician brings his own kind of warmth.
“Longtime owner Dave Jemilo has run the jazz lounge for 34 years. Dave Jemilo, owner, Green Mill: Well, we’re closed so it’s kind of weird. There’s absolutely no income coming in, you know, and you’re still paying your bills, there’s liquor bills due every week and things like that so it’s tough. And I feel most for my employees and all the musicians, this is what they do for a living so they can’t work, so it’s tough on everybody.
“The steady ones are the ones that are missing their weekly gig, and then the ones coming from out of town — I was supposed to have singer Sheila Jordan here this weekend with strings. I mean, this is a big, big gig, you know? And we can’t do it.” (Vitali, WTTW, 3/25/20)