By Reed I. Hadley
The word Maduro can take on meanings from a political official to a baseball or football player but in this case it simply means a luxuriously designed establishment offering nightly live entertainment and an exquisite selection of fine cigars.
If you are in Tokyo looking for good jazz accompanied by great food and drinks with affordable prices; it also means you will feel right at home in the right place to be.
Think of it as a “Ferrari” of night clubs. Time spent at Maduro in Grand Hyatt Tokyo (Roppongi Hills) is an experience whether you are a guest or just walk in. Hopefully, it will be such a pleasurable first time you will not want to make it your last. It is located on the fourth level and seats 108 guests. The musical talent alone is well worth the effort and is truly…World Class. The finely tuned engine is the house rhythm section hail from all points on the globe. Dennis Frehse (drummer) is from Germany (and now lives in Japan), Sonny Cosgrove (piano) is from the UK, Jeff Curry (bass) is from West Virginia, USA and leader Andy Wulf (saxophones) is a native from Edmonton, Canada.
Their songbook is cavernous and among the standards they serenaded the crowd with “Stolen Moments” and “My One and Only Love”. This quartet has been together for some time now and it shows in the virtuosity of solos. That proves why they are the house orchestra. “All pistons are firing and the engine purrs like a kitten”. Any vocalist will love to have them back her.
Recently, I spent a Saturday evening there and spoke briefly with Tomonori Iwoa, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage. I experienced a “finely tuned entertainment machine”. The gas filled lights over the bar coupled with dimmed lights over the room exudes a mood that an elegant evening is about to begin. Basically, the management team sticks to what they feel the people come for which is great music coupled with a pleasant atmosphere. Showtime always starts promptly at 8pm Monday through Saturday. The musical entrée is aptly provided by a careful blend of Jazz, Latin, with a sprinkle of Rhythm/Blues portioned out by carefully selected female vocalists also from every corner of the globe.
Maduro however, is not your typical jazz “listening room” for you staunch jazz aficionados (if silence for concentration on the wide array of tunes in the repertoire is what you seek). Keep in mind this is entertainment. From a social aspect patrons seem to enjoy themselves catching up with one another. There are a few regulars as I leaned as well…at least on Saturdays.
From the instant you are greeted at the entrance you are swiftly ushered to an off to a pre reserved side suite or just a cozy set for two in the front section for excellent viewing of the entertainment. Soft subtle leather cushioned seat wrap your body in comfort with a table for dining in front and a soft ottoman between the two seats t place your items. If your group is larger than two you could choose the huge circular table stage left where three high back/armed leather chairs support you or along the wall at the larger elongated table with soft bench seating for 12 or more. The service is impeccable.
You can enjoy your music along with a uniquely select array of food and beverages.
The Hyatt’s Chef Mr. Tasaka selects top shelf items for meat eaters and vegetarians ranging from tantalizing appetizers and tapas combinations to exquisitely prepared sumptuous meals. Did I mention the dessert menu is to die for?
A separate beverage list has a full array of Champagnes, Red and White wines from California to New Zealand. The spirits have a separate listing beginning with high end premium blends to popular brands. The after dinner drinks are present for your choice with a variety of blends of coffee and teas.
For you cigar aficionados there is a menu page for you as well…perhaps you will enjoy a select after dinner cocktail with your Cohiba! Mind you, all of these are presented to you with the classy theme of a leather bound booklet with the logo, again to remind you are about to enjoy a special evening.
If by chance you are not fortunate to get a table no worries. The floor plan of this establishment alloys one to enjoy everything from two long tables for an enjoyable experience in comfort. Available beverages are appealingly displayed to the eye under the gas filled lamps positioned along the wall and above the tables.
The staff decked out in tux/ties or evening wear remind you of the elegance seen on a fifties movie set but you know you are in the 21st century as the music snaps you back from the dream like state of mind. I knew where I was at all times. For those of you who have yet to experience Jazz in Tokyo, Maduro is my recommendation with ♪♪♪♪♪ for excellence in presentation of fine music and dining. I tip my “Top hat” to the management and staff.
Look for my next review from Maduro featuring Ms. Nash Reed vocalist from South Africa.