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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Enlightened Traveler: Buenos Aires –There's More to the Capital Than Tango

To hear visitors tell it, you'd think that there is no other music in Argentina but tango.

While we love the national art form as much as the next guy, at times we want something different – which is why when we are in Buenos Aires we're happy to spend a mellow evening listening to jazz at Notorious.

It's a memorable experience. For one thing, the cozy night spot is tucked away behind a record store on busy Av. Callao. From the street, you wouldn't know the club is there. You walk through bins of CDs to a small opening at the rear.

Surprise! This is a great jazz club.

It's a simple affair, an intimate black box really. All of the tables are close to the "stage." Young, sophisticated Portenos (what the residents of Buenos Aires call themselves) make up the crowd.

You'll hear mostly local musicians – albeit very accomplished ones – with an occasional gig by an internationally known name. One night we enjoyed a mellow Chet Baker-like set from the trumpeter Roberto Fats Fernandez. When we mentioned this to one of our Argentine friends, he exclaimed, "Fats Fernandez has played in New York, you know!"

What will your night out cost? About US$5 for admission. A plate of charcuterie with a baguette (enough for two) and a couple of beers will set you back another US$10.

A great night out, and the price is right!

Notorious is located at Av. Callao 966 (a few minutes by cab from Recoleta). Telephone 4816 2888. www.notorious.com.ar

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