Prairie Moon and Chicago’s Fulton Street Collective partner up for weekly jazz nights


Selena Kuznikov/The Daily Northwestern

Prairie Moon will feature live local jazz musicians every Wednesday night through October.

Selena Kuznikov, Assistant City Editor

In partnership with Fulton Street Collective, a Chicago artists’ space, Prairie Moon is hosting local musicians for jazz nights each Wednesday throughout October.

Prairie Moon owner Robert Strom said he has been involved with live jazz programs for years. Prior to Prairie Moon, he opened Pete Miller’s Seafood and Prime Steak, a now-closed Evanston jazz-club steakhouse that featured live jazz every night. 

Strom said he was excited to bring back live music after the pandemic shut down concerts and in-person dining for months.

“There’s something about jazz,” Strom said. “It demands an audience. The people who are playing, they work off of each other, they work off of the people who are listening. It’s very interactive.”

Since Pete Miller’s closed, Strom said that Evanston has lacked a vibrant jazz scene. He said that even hearing live jazz nights just once a week is a joy to him.

By charging a cover fee of $7, Strom said he wanted to make the live music as affordable as possible. Since Prairie Moon is located about a block from Northwestern’s campus, Strom said he also wanted the events to be accessible for students.

Fulton Street Collective Operations and Events Manager Chris Anderson said the group partnered with Strom for more than 20 years at his previous restaurant. 

The organization’s partnership with Prairie Moon started around 2020. In order to help both the restaurant and the Collective survive the pandemic, the two partnered to offer virtual jazz concerts and dinner for two. 

Anderson has worked with Strom to actively involve young people in jazz music. The organization prioritizes hosting younger musicians, he said. 

“I really enjoy giving younger musicians right out of college, or perhaps even in college, an opportunity to play,” Strom said. “In college, you learn how to play the notes, but you don’t necessarily learn how to perform the notes in front of an audience.” 

Prairie Moon hosted the Jimmy Farace Trio Wednesday, whose titular member is a jazz baritone saxophonist and woodwind player. Farace has performed with the Indiana All-Star Big Band and the Disneyland All-American College Band. 

A Chicago-based musician, Farace is also currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at DePaul University.

“I love the huge emphasis that jazz has on individualism, having an individual voice sounding like yourself,” Farace said. “You don’t see that in a ton of other art forms, especially ones that are all instrumental.”

The trio aims to present jazz through “uncommon” instrumentation, according to Farace. They compose their own music, though the group is often inspired by famous jazz compilations like the Great American Songbook. 

Farace said he enjoyed performing in Evanston, describing Prairie Moon as a “musician-friendly” environment. 

“(Prairie Moon)  was like, ‘You can play whatever you want, as loud as you want,’” he said. “To be able to play music unhindered is really, really amazing. We are really lucky that we have a place like this.”

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Twitter: @selenakuznikov 

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