BILL ELLIOTT REVIEWS OPENING NIGHT
DEAN MORA, BILL ELLIOTT, MAXWELL DEMILLE AND EDDIE REED
ATTEND THE OPENING NIGHT FESTIVITIES
Opening night at Maxwell's was a resounding success! The first point to make is, people showed
up: some 200 or so, filling the room nicely, including many familiar faces from the swing scene:
dancers, promoters, bandleaders, celebrating with the spirit of a reunion party. The attendees
dressed well, many elegantly, making people-watching a pleasure. The art deco, two-level room
had good sight lines and acoustics; on and near the dance floor the band was powerful, while on the
bar level above it was possible to hold a conversation while still enjoying the music. The dance
floor was kept packed all night. Mora's Modern Swingtet was in exceptionally good form,
sounding full and rich. I enjoyed the fact that even when the band was playing music from the 40s,
the foursquare rhythm section made it sound no later than 1936, offering a reverse spin on modern
"mainstream" interpretation of standards.
Maxwell was cool as a cucumber, confidently enjoying the success of the evening. Jim Bentley's
comic magic act was well-received, as was Dita Von Teese's exotic fan dance. Their presence
truly added to the ambience and sense that this was a nightclub, a social event, not just a dance.
But even those who came only to
dance were swept up in the party atmosphere and realized that something special was happening.
Just as the Satin Ballroom recreates a certain type of event not seen in a couple of generations, so
Maxwell's recreates another.
I spoke with a genial gentleman dressed in black who was surveying the scene and who introduced
himself as the head of security. We both commented on the well-behaved audience which
contrasted sharply with the typical disco night crowd. He got a big kick out of watching the
audience enjoy themselves, and said "They all seem to know each other".
At the reception table, a woman handling "Press Check-In" greeted some eight or nine reporters
from various publications during the evening, including LA Times and NY Times. Maxwell deserves
great credit for covering all the bases, and evidently his investment in PR was paying off.
Maxwell's is off and running! Next week, Josh Collazo & the Feetwarmers with Wendy Rea take the