In a secluded corner of downtown Durham hides a retro jazz club, The Shed, where musicians and young jazz lovers gather for jam sessions, jazz records, used books and warm drinks.
The Shed is a popular hangout spot for many N.C. Central University students to wind down. Students from NCCU’s music department host their gigs at The Shed frequently to get more performance time. Music senior Jacob Classen said he enjoys the small crowds that the club draws in.
“It’s an intimate space,” said Classen. “Durham has a really fertile music scene and The Shed is a part of that. I think it’s a different experience than the places downtown like Beyù Caffè or Motorco.”
Jazz studies senior Shaquim Muldrow has been playing at The Shed for a year after learning about the venue from a friend. Muldrow said it’s a good environment for him and his quartet to improve and play new music.
“It’s a chance for young musicians to build up their leadership skills as they start their own band,” said Muldrow. “It’s a really great place for art, not just for music.”
Owned by New York saxophonist Daniel Stark, the club gives upcoming musicians a chance to shine and work on their craft while performing for a live audience.
“We’re not saying we want artists to come in with a finished show that’s going to be amazing,” Stark said.
“I’d rather have an artist come in and say I want to a do a show every month for the next year. You just know that every month, it’s going to get better and better. Being willing to commit to that kind of relationship with the artists is one of the things we try to offer.”
The Shed’s goal is to create a fun, productive space for musicians and a community arts hub for sharing ideas.
Stark said he wanted to create a mini concert hall for small groups who wanted to do more than play in restaurants.
After moving to Durham three years ago, Stark looked at what the city’s jazz scene had to offer.
Stark searched for empty spaces in Durham. With the help of Scientific Properties under Golden Belt, he was approved to start his business after they saw his vision and passion for improving the music scene.
Since then, The Shed has been running for over a year. New bands and artists around North Carolina have used the jazz club as a regular destination for shows. However, before any artist can perform at the club, it’s required to physically visit the venue first so they can understand the layout of the stage.
Jazz style music and jazz artists aren’t the only things The Shed offers. Despite their jazz niche, other styles of music and art are welcomed. The Shed is known for hosting rap ciphers, poets and hip-hop events featuring both local and out-of-town artists.
The Shed is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every Monday night, The Shed holds live jam sessions, which is $5 for entry but it’s free for students.
Stark is looking forward to starting an art gallery inside the club.