Some links to legendary or famous jazz clubs



Birdland "When the original Birdland opened fifty-one years ago in December, 1949, Charlie Parker was the headliner and the club was located on Broadway, a few blocks west of 52nd Street..."

"Now, half a century later, the Birdland banner has been reborn in midtown. After a decade of neighborhood success on the Upper West Side, John decided to move the club back to Midtown. The new Birdland offers top-flight jazz in a world class setting, good sight lines and acoustics, elbow room, and a menu ripe with award winning Southern Cuisine."

"Since the reemergence of the club, midtown Manhattan has been treated to some of the best jazz on the planet, including memorable sets by such musicians as Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Tony Williams, Mark Murphy, Diana Krall, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Kevin Mahogany, Dave Holland, and Tito Puente, as well as the big bands of Chico O'Farrill, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Maria Schneider."

quote from Birdland's "History" page
Blue Note "The Blue Note, world’s finest jazz club, located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, Tokyo, Osaka & Fukuoka, Japan and our newest location on the legendary strip in Las Vegas, is synonymous not only with great jazz in an intimate setting, but also critically-acclaimed food, top-notch service and a really cool gift shop with an eclectic array of exclusive jazz-related merchandise; including Blue Note wearing apparel."

quote from Blue Note's "About" page

That sounds very American indeed: food, gifts and merchandise.
Knitting Factory In the "behind the scene" department Joel Dorn tells the "Club History":


When I started the Knitting Factory in 1987 with Louis Spitzer, we had no idea what we were doing or where we were going. We had found an old, dilapidated Avon Products office on Houston Street between the Bowery and Broadway. The rent was $1,800 per month for 2,000 square feet on one floor in a four-story walkup. The place was really a mess: yellow painted plaster chipping off the walls, a rotted wood toilet, and piles of Avon products scattered all over the floor. When we were trying to come up with a name, our friends suggested calling it the Dump. The initial idea was to have an art gallery/performance space that sold coffee, teas, and a small assortment of foods. As Louis and I said in our first press release (all my misspellings included), "The Knitting Factory is primaraly a showcase. Our aim is to weave strands of art mediums into a congruent whole, from the Wednesday night poetry series to the works on the walls. The Knitting Factory is also a cafe. It serves interesting forms of food like a fondue with fresh fruit. The Knitting Factory considers many things art and is open to suggestions. Hope to see you soon." But my real motivation at the time was to earn enough money to live and to cover the rent for Flaming Pie Records.

The story continues on a lot of pages...
SMOKE SMOKE, JAZZ CLUB AND COCKTAIL LOUNGE, opened it's doors to the public on April 9, 1999. Owned, operated, conceived, designed and renovated by Paul Stache and Frank Christopher, SMOKE is carrying on the twenty year tradition of jazz at this location formerly known as Augie's Jazz Bar.
Sweet Basil When I checked the link on August 26, 2001, people at the Sweet Basil said,

"After 26 years as one of the best Jazz clubs on Planet Earth, Sweet Basil has closed."

But they also tell:

"Watch this space for an announcement, soon, about the club reopening. We look forward to presenting more great JAZZ in this new millennium."
Village Vanguard
Please, enter!
Max Gordon © Gene Cook

It has been described as "the Carnegie Hall of jazz clubs" and "the Mecca of Hip." It is the Village Vanguard, the heart and soul of live jazz in Manhattan for more than 60 years. From its address of 178 Seventh Ave South, the club has hosted a list of heavy-weight musicians that reads like a Who's Who of jazz including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and more.

Max & Lorraine © S. Uchiyama

The Village Vanguard was opened in 1935 by Max Gordon, a bohemian intellectual with a knack for spotting talent. In the early years, the club wasn't exclusively jazz, but offered a variety of entertainment including folk music, cabaret, comedy and poetry readings. In the 1940s, the Vanguard was a launching pad for folk singers like Josh White, Leadbelly and Harry Belafonte

Lorraine Gordon © Y. Yanagi

The eclectic booking policy of the early days gave way to modern jazz in the 1950s, with the club quickly becoming the world's premier spot for the rapidly evolving form of American music. The first "Live at the Village Vanguard" recording was made in 1957 and "Sonny Rollins A Night at the Village Vanguard" is still available. Countless other recordings have followed, most notably those of John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Dexter Gordon. The tradition of live recording at the club continues with recent releases by Tommy Flanagan, Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau and Wynton Marsalis.

Today, the Village Vanguard is run by Max Gordon's wife, Lorraine. The room looks about the same as it always has: wedge-shaped with a low ceiling, but offering pristine sound quality and unparalleled intimacy.

Text quoted from the "HISTORY" page of the Village Vanguard site.

Photo credits - Max: Gene Cook. Max/Lorraine: S. Uchiyama. Lorraine: Y. Yanagi.

maintained by hepcat1950 TOP last update: July 4, 2005