Leavenworth’s newest live music venue, the 424 Lounge, opened last weekend. The jazz lounge is in downtown Leavenworth at 424 Cherokee St., next to Luigi’s Italian Restaurant. The owners, James and Georgette Diggs, have spent the last three and one-half months transforming the former First Taste Olive Oils location into an upscale jazz lounge while keeping some of the vintage touches. The venue has a warm, comfortable feel with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and a white painted, stamped tin ceiling.

The 424 Lounge will be open three days a week from 3-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with happy hour starting at 3 p.m. The bands go on stage at 7 p.m. Their menu offers cocktails, appetizers and tasty bar food. James Diggs is a lifelong jazz fan who has dreamed of opening his own jazz lounge for a long time.

“We are a lounge, not a club,” he said.

He’s looking forward to sipping scotch and enjoying live jazz with his new patrons.

Critically acclaimed jazz musician and educator Chris Burnett will be booking the acts for the lounge for the first six months. He has been playing jazz around the Kansas City area for years and his knowledge and contacts will help bring quality jazz talent to the venue. The first group to play the lounge was the James Ward Band, which played Friday night.

Here are the next few acts who will be playing at the 424 Lounge:

Jan. 19 – Roger Wilder. He is a jazz pianist who has been playing in the Kansas City area for nearly 20 years and has collaborated with other artists such as Angela Hagenbach and the Sons of Brasil, among others. He also teaches at the UMKC Conservatory of Music.

Jan. 24 – Midnight Blue. They are a Kansas City-based jazz quartet with Greg Carrol on vocals, Justin Binek on piano, Max Penichet on bass and Marty Morrison on the drums. They just released their latest album, “2+2,” this past December.

Jan. 25 – Will Matthews. He has been the guitarist for the Count Basie Orchestra since 1996. During his time with the orchestra he has toured all over the globe and can be heard on two Grammy Award-winning albums.

Jan. 26 – Lisa Henry. She is a jazz singer who has performed all over the world. She finished second at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz vocals competition and has even sang at the White House.

To find out more about Leavenworth’s newest night spot, visit www.424lounge.com

Mike Nickells writes about music in the Leavenworth area.