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Club Ibex

Reviewed by Nicky Baxter

Situated in the same spot previously occupied by the much-ballyhooed but ultimately disappointing Club Jazz, Club Ibex equals CJ's tony vibe while at the same time pulling the plug on the former's somewhat stuffed-shirt aura. In addition to bringing in top-quality jazz ensembles such as the Ed Kelly Trio, the nightclub is well on its way to becoming San Jose's (mostly) African/world music central. In just the last month or so, a parade of polybeat groups have ripped it up, most notably Junglz Apart, Pan Exstasy and Viva Brasil. And it's been that way since Ibex first opened its doors to the public four months ago.

Says co-owner Tsehay Mebrahtu: "We want to create a familylike environment ... make people feel relaxed, so that you will want to come back again and again." Adds Joe Gebreyes, another co-proprietor, "The type of people who frequent this club are mature, usually 25 and over." Gebreyes describes the ambiance as "casually elegant." When I visited on a recent evening, it was still early and just a smattering of folks were chatting at the bar; onstage, Gebreyes and Pan Exstasy leader Ashton Craig talked shop in hushed tones. Besides its eclectic musical menu, what sets Club Ibex apart is its genuinely congenial ambiance. When Mebrahtu reports that "[Ibex's staffers] make it a point to personally greet every customer," you know she's not faking it.

55 S. Market St., San Jose (408/971-4239).

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From the June 13-19, 1996 issue of Metro

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