ALPHARETTA, Ga. – When you live in an outlying district to a major city, entertainment tends to be scarce. This is not so in Alpharetta, home to The Velvet Note, the hottest jazz club in North Fulton, who hosted a special guest April 4 during open mic night.
Alvin Stone, emcee of The Velvet Note, made the announcement that Alpharetta’s Acoustic Living Room was to host Hall of Fame basketball player Artis Gilmore.
Gilmore led the Jacksonville University Dolphins to the NCAA Division I championship game in 1970. He is the top player in rebounds per game in the history of NCAA Division I basketball.
The club was atwitter at the news; celebrity sightings have become more and more common in downtown Atlanta, but now the cultural icons seem to be migrating north to the suburbs.
All 7-foot-2 of Artis Gilmore settled in with his house Cabernet, championship ring glistening on his large hand, to the dulcet tones of “Georgia On My Mind.”
In a short time, The Velvet Note has developed a reputation for its friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
“[The Velvet Note] has such a positive environment” said Gilmore. “I live in Jackson, Fla. and I don’t have access to jazz settings like you do.”
The Acoustic Living Room felt the same way about Gilmore.
“In a time when so many celebrities seem to have lost their values, I’m proud to say that my sister has been married to Artis for 41 years. He knows about family,” said Stone, Gilmore’s brother-in-law.
Club owner Tamara Fuller said The Velvet Note crew is a family in and of itself.
“I feel great about the fact that The Velvet Note is such a place that Mr. Gilmore can come and feel comfortable,” Fuller said. “He was very generous. [Gilmore] endorsed and raffled off several pieces of memorabilia and shared some of the causes that are close to his heart. It just felt like family.”
Each week at open mic night, Stone invites the crowd to meet the house musicians and join in the fun on stage; with every Thursday that passes, regardless of the fame of attendees, there are less and less strangers in the Acoustic Living Room.
For more about The Velvet Note, visit them online at www.thevelvetnote.com.