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Hi Fi Jazz Café: Finding Jazz Music in the Heart of Tallahassee Ashley Turner

Since its opening in 2010, Hi Fi invites everyone, musicians and listeners alike, to step inside. With its low ceiling and room capacity that peaks around sixty people, it radiates warmth and comfort. Small, circular lights dot the ceiling, casting a peachy, blue-tinged glow across walls the color of cabernet. Mismatched trinkets and patterns accent its equally eclectic, quirky attitude. Within a sea of mirrors and abstract paintings screaming with color, only the tablecloths and chairs are consistent in design. Fluorescent strings of lights frame the windows, one strand snaking its way along the floor and up the mic stand. Wedged in the left corner behind the microphone is an upright piano with a lava lamp and thin vase of flowers resting on its slender, black top. For those that finds solace in the strange and avant-garde, this place is home. Tables seating two to four are next to the performance space, encouraging conversation as well as listening. Diagonal to the performance space is a bar that serves a limited selection of beers, wines, and food. The old rules of an orchestra hall don’t exist here. Instead, listeners mimic the musician’s phrases, reacting spontaneously, freely. Live music is raw, so vulnerable that not even the artists’ records sold afterwards can quite replicate it. Mistakes made here are easily forgiven and forgotten. Musicians are hardly at arms-length to the audience, creating an invitation for conversation. Piano notes effortlessly lace through the air. Guitar chords churn and weave around an improvised duet with a saxophone. Jazz jolts and bumps, glides and spirals, defining every line with a finer degree of communication, a clearer thought. No note is short of spinning energy, no phrase without contour. And the artists are just as mobile as their trade, constantly gigging, looking for the next city, the next record, the next move…


But then you look up. The ceiling is covered in writing: a scrawled name, instrument, and a date. Although the words may seem vague, each scribble captures a snapshot in time. Hi Fi stands as a unique symbol of Tallahassee’s persistent and growing effort to support music both within and outside the local community. It supports new, unexposed talent and has the unique pleasure of inviting that talent back once time has been spent away, traveling, teaching, and sharing music. Each signature on the ceiling paints a picture, a memory etched in the collective mind of Hi Fi Jazz Café. Each inscription whittles out a notch of time spent here, documenting comings and goings, beginnings and conclusions. Each message immortalizes what cannot be captured on any other medium but the memory, an elusive pause to the ceaseless motion of music and time. Hi Fi Jazz Café is located at 1617 South Adams Street. Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-3 pm and Friday 11:30 am-12 am. Like Hi Fi on Facebook. Hi Fi can also be contacted via phone at (850) 391-2222.


Hi fi jazz cafe