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A Jazz Jam at Big Bang and a three-course, 10-euro Meal with the Intellectual Mario M. Perez Ruiz

May 21, 2011

mario m perez ruiz cooking in his restaurant

mario m perez ruiz cooking in his restaurant

Barcelona is full of jamming venues that shift musical styles from one day to the next, most serving up blues, rock and jazz at one moment or another. Sunday is the busiest day for these jams, which are like open mics but usually like to have musicians join other musicians they may not know, playing in a jam session. Last night I dropped by one of these clubs, called Big Bang, even though I knew it was a jazz jam and that I would not be able to play along.

But I will probably return to the Big Bang tomorrow when it is rock, pop jam night. In any case, last night there was a jazz concert before the jazz jam, and I caught a bit of it on video, and I decided to make a couple of videos just absorbing and showing the venue to the readers of this blog. It is a very cool, old-style, almost 1950s feel kind of place. Set up in 1992 by a musician named Jesus de Kalle who played in the nearby Catalunya Place and decided to create a venue for bands to play together.

It turns out it is just around the corner from the JazzSi jam bar too, which also runs on the same principle and which is associated with a music school. Tomorrow, I might play at both.

One of the advantages to this area, near the Sant Antoni metro, is that just up the street from the Big Bang is a very unusual restaurant run by an unusual owner, Mario M. Perez Ruiz, who is a poet, author, and television and radio personality who owns and runs and cooks in his own restaurant. I discovered this place last year when I met some people at the Big Bang session and they took me to the restaurant afterwards.

In addition to the interest of the restaurant having bookshelves, paintings and drawings and other cultural artifacts – in addition to the poet-chef’s own books and large personality – there is the fact that the food is very tasty, filling and cheap as hell. I was looking at other nearby restaurants with menus at around 30 euros and I opted for Perez-Ruiz’s place. When I saw there was a three course meal with more than a quarter liter of red wine and an espresso coffee offered at only 10 euros, no tax, I was out of my mind with joy. So I ate my salad, paella, crema catalana, red wine and coffee and read my “Chronicles” by Bob Dylan, and then went off to the Big Bang, feeling pretty good.

Check it out!

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