The Blue Egg was a jazz club on the south side of Chicago, lightly scuffed but lovingly tended, a neighborhood joint with a mixed clientele. Musicians gathered there to earn their pay and sharpen their trade, treating the place like a combination work site, grand lodge, corner bar and town square. It was, in other words, like so many other small-time establishments in urban communities across the country, nondescript in its adherence to type—unless you were one of the regulars who knew the place top to bottom, in which case “nondescript” was the furthest thing from the truth.
Jazz scholars and cultural anthropologists have excluded the Blue Egg from the historical record, though they can’t reasonably be faulted, since it never really existed. I conjured the club for a short story in a creative writing class during my junior year of high school. At that time I had been to Chicago just once, for a college-scouting trip, without actually visiting any jazz haunts.