When you first think music and Jackson Hole, country at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Tourists gingerly balance on the saddles at the bar, sipping Wyoming Whiskey, while seasoned local dance pros two-step, country swing and waltz visitors across the dance floor. Around the corner at The Wort Hotel, country is also found, but mixed with bluegrass, reggae, folk and rockabilly depending on the night.
But for those looking for that non-traditional piano bar, where you can enjoy a nice glass of wine and carry on a conversation without yelling over the music – where to go?
For many years, one of my favorite fine dining restaurants in Jackson has been The Granary at Spring Creek Ranch, just outside of Jackson and peering down over Spring Gulch. Whether enjoying a glass of wine on the deck during the summer, cozying up to the fireplace bar or restaurant during the winter, The Granary provides spectacular views of the Teton Range and the Spring Gulch ranches.
The Granary is also home to what I call Jackson’s Secret Jazz Club. Jackson is blessed with two incredibly talented Jazz musicians – husband and wife, Keith and Pam Phillips. Almost every young local pianist has taken lessons from this duo, creating a bevy of kids who “get” jazz and classical music at a young age.
Typically, Friday and Saturday evenings you will find Pam twinkling the ivories at The Granary’s bar. Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, or Diana Krall, you name it, she plays it, with flourishes that will keep your toes tapping. On Friday evenings, Pam is joined by a variety of musicians, further bringing the jazz club to life. One of Pam’s regulars is bassist Bill Plummer who lovingly embraces his bass like a very special woman, making it sing. Plummer has played with The Grateful Dead, Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett, just to name a few.
Before moving to Jackson, Pam conducted for Evita and Crazy For You on Broadway, in addition to playing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Manhattan Rhythm Kings. You can find her music on iTunes and in many of the local stores. One of my all-time favorites is “Woolly Bugger Rag” (it’s a fly fishing thing….) Make a request and you won’t be disappointed.
So next time you are in Jackson, and if you love piano and jazz, make a point to spend an evening at The Granary, experiencing Jackson’s Secret Jazz Club. Order a bottle of Hahn Pinot Noir, very affordable and perfect to enjoy with the Smoked Trout Dip, creamy flaky smoked trout mousseline with Parmesan Reggiano cheese, served with crostini. You also must try the Game Sausage Plate, exploding with flavors that will excite your taste buds. If you are having dinner, the elk tenderloin is not to be missed.
If you miss Pam at The Granary, she also is the music director at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Trust me, the lady can wrap up a church service with a version of Amazing Grace that would bring anyone to their feet with a serious AMEN!
Check the local newspaper, or contact The Granary at 307-733-8833 to confirm the music schedule as it varies by season.