A happy place in Kansas

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I'm not normally a bubbly person, but I'm feeling pretty cheery at the moment. I'm on my way home after a long stretch of long workdays in Wichita. I got a later-than-planned start and left town without eating. I decided to stop in Winfield, Kansas, at a coffee house there. I figured I could get some dinner, check e-mail, and get caffeinated for the rest of the drive.

What I found when I arrived at the beautiful craftsman bungalow that houses College Hill Coffee was an amazingly good jazz quintet. The pianist sounds like Vince Guaraldi and the guitarist has a style reminiscent of Eldon Shamblin. When they broke into "April in Paris," I broke into a grin.

For the record, the quintet is Prof. Mike Jones, trumpet; Scott Williams, piano; Tom Hoeffgen, guitar; Lee Velasquez, bass; and Nick Hofmeister, drums. I assume "Prof." implies a connection to Southwestern College, just a block from here.

It's a bit off the fast (but deadly boring) route between Tulsa and Wichita, but College Hill Coffee will be getting future visits from me, I feel sure.

MORE COFFEE: I've added College Hill Coffee to the map at IndieCoffeeShops.com, a Google Maps-based, crowdsourced guide to independently-owned coffeehouses around the world. IndieCoffeeShops.com guided me to three great hangouts in Wichita -- more about them, and Wichita, in a future entry.

STILL MORE: Scott Williams, the quintet's pianist, posted a comment below. He has posted a number of YouTube videos of the Winfield music scene, including several from the evening at College Hill Coffee. Here's one -- "Spring Is Here."

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Business has had me in Wichita fairly often over the past few weeks. I was telling a friend about my recent sojourn, and she replied that she'd driven through Wichita a few times and couldn't "get on board with the whole Kansas thing." I'll admit that ... Read More


Yogi said:

So there is life off I35? I'll have to check it out as I make the boring trip to Wichita a bunch.

One nice route is to get off the Cimarron Turnpike on US 177, drive through Ponca City, and keep going north through Arkansas City and Winfield on US 77, then you can either keep going north to Augusta (if you're headed to the east side of Wichita), or bear northwest on K-15 (if you're headed downtown or points west. Winfield is a real gem.

Less interesting, but not as far off I-35, is US 77 / US 177 / US 81 through Tonkawa, Blackwell, South Haven, and Wellington.

I've found some pleasant hangouts and great barbecue in Wichita, and I hope to write about them in a future post.

Hi- I'd like to thank you for your kind review of our music and of College Hill Coffee in Winfield, Ks. Winfield has a lively local music scene, which is largely invisible to non-residents. I have a Youtube channel with 39 videos of mostly Winfield-area music, including several of Springtime Jazz. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog. Thanks again! http://www.youtube.com/user/scottosonic?feature=mhw5

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 2, 2010 9:26 PM.

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