Above: The Velvet Note Owner Tamara Fuller with Special EFX guitarist/leader Chieli Minucci
By Mark Penstone
When The Velvet Note opened in June 2012, the idea of live music—especially jazz—in this area was inconceivable. Owner Tamara Fuller was quoted saying, “We would give people driving directions and they would chuckle and say, Alpharetta has jazz? Are you sure?” During the past seven years, no fewer than twenty-nine Atlanta-based jazz clubs have closed their doors but The Velvet Note is still there which means they’re doing something right.
When you walk into The Velvet Note, it feels like a New York City jazz club. It’s intimate, upscale, and far exceeds the expectations set by their modest
exterior location, in a strip mall, sandwiched between a sub shop and a Brazilian wax salon. “In many ways, we operate like an exclusive private club, but our hospitality is available to everyone.” The acoustics and sound quality are unparalleled—you get the clarity and precision of sitting in a recording studio, with the ambiance of a fine dining establishment.
The Velvet Note has won consecutive awards from DownBeat magazine for being one of the top jazz clubs in the world. The food and service level ratings and reviews continue to be high, featuring the area’s best jumbo lump crab cakes, a full bar, and a team of committed, caring individuals who ensure your stay is memorable.
The “acoustic living room” continues to attract the biggest and best names in jazz, including Robert Glasper, Diane Schuur, Larry Carlton, Dave Weckl, Pat Martino, Jazmeia Horne, and many more. They now offer a Blues/Southern Songwriter night on most Wednesday evenings, and it’s a great time for new guests to check them out, along with their Thursday jazz jam session.
I love The Velvet Note, not just because Tamara and I have become good friends but because I’ve never experienced a more intimate place to view some of the country’s best Jazz Musicians. The food is excellent as well. If you’ve never been then give them a call, it’s a great time to ask questions about any artists you may not be familiar with. The Velvet Note is truly an Alpharetta Gem! ❍