Berkow used a substantial amount of sound absorbing and dispersing material to tame the club's acoustics, but you can't see any of it. It's hidden above an acoustically transparent fabric-covered ceiling. The club's curved walls also disperse sound, and the JBL speakers over the stage are precisely angled to provide uniform sound coverage throughout the 2,300-square-foot space. There are two 8-inch subwoofers (with four drivers in each sub) strategically mounted under the stage.
Live concert sound quality has never been better, but it's usually much too loud for me and possibly you. If you go to a lot of concerts, overexposure to loud sound may lead to permanent hearing loss. I use V-Moda Faders VIP earplugs to bring concert volume down to a tolerable level, but the earplugs stayed in my pocket at Dizzy's.
For me, the best club sound systems are the ones that don't sound like they're turned on. Dizzy's system wasn't designed for high-decibel rock or any really loud music. At Dizzy's it's nearly impossible to be sure if the sound is coming from the musicians, or the system. The sound for Igor Butman & the Moscow State Jazz Orchestra's rehearsal was perfect, and I was blown away by this hard-hitting 16-piece big band. The sound was easily the best I've heard in a jazz club.
With a big band like Butman's the club's mix engineer, Juan Carlos Andrews, doesn't run the entire band's sound through the system, just the quieter instruments like saxes, flutes, bass, piano, and the singer's vocals. The setup for each band is different, and the relative volume levels of the players are determined at the sound check the afternoon of the first evening's performance. At Butman's rehearsal they had the sound squared away in a couple of hours. During the show Andrews will continue to fine-tune the levels.
Typically, two bands a week play Dizzy's. Some shows are recorded for broadcast on the Pure Jazz channel on SiriusXM, and the club puts live-as-they're-happening concerts on its Web site on Thursday nights. Tomorrow's concert features the Phil Woods Quintet at 9:30 PM ET. Check it out at that time.
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). If you love jazz and you're in NYC, don't miss it!
If you're lucky enough to have a great-sounding venue in your town, tell us about it in the comments section.