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Best of Kansas City

Arts & Entertainment

BEST SUBURBAN OASIS 

Take Five Coffee + Bar

Critics' Choice

Every seat is filled, and people are leaning against counters and walls. Up front, framed by floor-to-ceiling strip-center windows, three of Kansas City's most respected jazz players — Mike Metheny, Hermon Mehari and Stan Kessler — are leading their outstanding Trumpet Summit through a CD-release party. Under the room's wide wooden beams, the sound is nearly perfect, and the audience follows every run. This is how a jazz club is supposed to feel. Except Take Five isn't a jazz club. No, it's an ambitious coffeehouse and bar, nestled deep in southern Leawood. And every weekend night (before a modest 11 p.m. closing time), audiences pack inside to hear jazz — sublime jazz. This coming January marks four years since owners Lori and Doug Chandler took over a former Caribou Coffee and remade it around their own passion for this music. Word of their vision has spread. Saxophonist Rob Scheps plays here when visiting from New York (including an upcoming October gig), and L.A. sax man Bob Sheppard stopped by last fall. Take Five isn't some suburban wannabe. It's a serious destination in an unlikely zip code, and we'll take it.

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