Updated: Sep 17, 2020
By Julia Train
I was born and raised in Washington, DC and yet I'd never been in Blues Alley until this past Saturday - and the experience was remarkable. I didn't know that Blues Alley, tucked quietly away on a side alley in Georgetown, is the oldest continuing jazz supper club in the nation. Founded in 1965, internationally acclaimed artists such as Eva Cassidy, Ramsey Lewis & Charlie Byrd have all graced Blues Alley's stage.
Individuals packed into the club this Saturday to see Joyce Moreno, an accomplished Brazilian singer, composer and guitarist, perform. I straggled in a little late and ended up perched on a bar stool in the back. I didn't mind, though, because Joyce Moreno was still so close and the drinks came right away.
Decorated with dimly lit with candles and round-top tables, Blues Alley magically captures the 1920s and 1930s Jazz Era. As soon as I walked in, I felt embraced by the club's ambience and Joyce's soothing voice. A couple of women next to me sang along with Joyce and I became entranced by her voice.
Joyce first became noticed in 1967 with her hit song, "Me Disseram." Inspired by bold woman singers and songwriters, such as Billie Holliday and Edith Piaf, Joyce's lyrics were considered vulgar and immoral by some critics at the time. Knowing this little tidbit of history before seeing Joyce perform made me like her even more.
She was not only a talented musician, but a feminist and pioneer within the music industry.
Going to a concert at the Wolf Trap or Jiffy Lube is a lot of fun, but intimately experiencing an accomplished and talented musician, like Joyce Moreno, upfront and center is something special.