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Jazz Clubs And Other Venues In New York City

55 Bar 55 Christopher St. (btwn. 7th Ave. So. & Waverly Place) (212) 929-9883.
Leni and Mike Stern hold court, also KJ Denhert, Sweet Georgia Brown, Billy Bang and Wayne Krantz. $3 cover and 2 drink min. Weeknight shows begin at 9:30 pm. Early show Friday and Saturday are from 6:00 - 9:30 pm. Friday and Saturday late shows begin at 10:00 pm. Get there early because the club is small and Mike Stern packs them in. Expect a $15 cover on Mike Stern nights, but that includes 2 drinks.

The Allen Room - Jazz at Lincoln Center Columbus Circle, 60th Street at Broadway. (212) 258-9800 (general information). (212) 721-6500 (City Charge tickets)
This wonderful new amphitheater boasts a soaring 50-foot glass wall overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. Check their website for updated schedule information.

American Legion Post 248 W. 132nd St., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves. (212) 283-9701
The free Sunday evening jam session begins 7:00 P.M. until the hall closes at midnight. The kitchen serves up a heaping plateful of reasonably priced and delicious soul food. And the warm weather months are enjoyed on a beautiful back patio. Seleno Clarke keeps the spirit of defunct jazz club, La Famille, alive with his tasteful licks on Hammond B-3 organ and an international trio of sidemen help anchor the weekly jam session.

Arthur's Tavern 57 Grove St. (N.W. corner of Grove and 7th Ave. South at Sheridan Square) 212-675-6879.
Since 1937. Longest continually run jazz club in NYC. No cover charge. Jazz: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Dixieland jazz: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Blues and R&B from 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. Sunday and Monday. The Creole Cooking Jazz Band, Grove Street Stompers and Sweet Georgia Brown have been playing here weekly forever, and for good reason: they rock the house.

Bar Next Door (La Lanterna Caffe) 129 MacDougal St., btwn West 3rd & West 4th in Greenwich Village. (212) 529-5945.
Jazz 7 nights a week in this cozy spot smack dab in the middle of The Village. A fantastic and intimate room...the sound is irresistible!

Birdland 315 West 44th Street (btwn. 8th and 9th) 212-581-3080.
All show times: 9:00 and 11:00 P.M. (with early 5:30 tribute sets added to the Mon., Tues. and Fri. schedules). Music charge varies, $20-35. There is a $10 food/drink minimum per person at the tables. At the bar, the music charge includes one drink. The namesake club to the great Charlie Parker, this room is doing great since re-locating from uptown.  The top names of jazz appear here (Tony Williams played one of his last gigs here), and it has been the home to big bands every Sunday and Monday night. The food is pretty good, and the bar is right next to the bandstand.

Blue Note Jazz Club - 131 West 3rd Street, between 6th avenue and MacDougal St., (212) 475-8592. 
The most expensive club in the City - world renowned. Only the biggest acts in jazz (i.e. B.B. King, Chick Corea, Pat Martino, John Scofield, etc.).

Blue Water Grill 31 Union Square West (Corner West 16th St.) (212) 675-9500.
Fine restaurant with live jazz booked for downstairs dining area. Call for reservations. No cover, but meals are high end. Web site does not mention who's playing, indicating that the jazz is an afterthought. That is, they don't book musicians who are in a position to complain if the audience noise level starts to peak. Call for performance calendar.

Cleopatra's Needle 2485 Broadway (btwn. 92nd & 93rd) 212-769-6969.
Music from 9 pm - 4 am. No cover. $10. min. per set. Eclectic menu, big screen sports and weekly showcases, featuring Eric Lewis Trio on Mondays. And nightly open jams from 2 am - 4 am. Jazz vocalists open mic every Sunday 1 to 5 pm.

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola - Jazz at Lincoln Center Columbus Circle 60th Street at Broadway, 5th floor. (212) 258-9595. They have a great late night weekly series of large in small names in the jazz world. Don't miss this spot on your jazz tour.

Fat Cat 75 Christopher Street (at 7th Ave. South) (212) 675-6056.
This club is "around the corner pocket" from Smalls and features billiards and jazz. $10 admission for 6 hours of music from 10pm-4am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Fat Cat is the little brother of Smalls and features a similar posture and roster. It has reopened after wrinkles have been ironed out, check it out and tell us what you think.

The Garage 99 7th Ave. South (Just South of W 4th St.) 212-645-0600.
An open and spacious restaurant with a gregarious liquor bar / oyster bar. Aspiring jazz groups nightly, usually fronted by a vocalist. No cover. Plenty of outdoor seating in good weather. Sunday Jazz Brunch begins at noon.

Iridium Jazz Club - 1650 Broadway (at 51st St), (212) 582-2121.
Top internationally known artists play six day runs, and Les Paul Trio every Monday. Sets: Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 and 10:30. Fri. & Sat 3rd Set at Midnight. Minimum cover charge: $20.00. $10.00 Drink Min.

Jazz Gallery 290 Hudson St. (Corner of Spring) (212) 242-1063.
A second floor jazz art and artist showcase. Call ahead for events. Most nights sets begin at 9:00 and 10:30 for a $10 cover charge. Jazz Gallery performance series are funded in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, Presenting Program.

The Jazz Standard - 116 East 27th St (btwn. Lexington and Park Ave South) (212) 576-2232. 
Newly renovated after being closed for almost a year, this elegant club is a terrific addition to the jazz scene, serving up big names (George Coleman) and up-and-coming stars.  Sometimes the cover charge is reduced on shows early in the week. They serve food, and although the bar is really far from the bandstand, the sound of the room is really terrific!

Jules 65 St. Marks Pl. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-477-5560.
A friendly, and casual French bistro with some outdoor seating, great food and abundant wine selection, and a deep love of jazz. Jazz nightly starting at 9:00 on weekdays and 11:00 on weekends. No cover. Sunday jazz brunch starts at 12:00 and goes till 3:00

Knickerbocker Saloon 33 University Place (at 9th St.) 212-228-8490.
Opened in 1978. $5.00 minimum on food or drink -- specializing in gigantic steaks. Jazz music presented Wed. through Sat. Often featuring legends with stars as bright as Sir Roland Hanna, Junior Mance, Mulgrew Miller, Billy Drummond, and Earl May. This is the last hold out in an area that was once a Golden Triangle of informal jazz haunts including the venues: The Village Gate, Bradleys and The Cookery.

The Lenox Lounge 288 Lenox Ave. (btwn. 124th & 125th St.) 212-427-0253
Recently renovated to its original 1930's art deco splendor. The Zebra Room in back with its baby grand piano, tiled floors and leather banqueted booths is one of the finest looking jazz spaces in town. Local jazz booked on weekends with a $15 cover charge and 2 drink minimum. The 3 Sets are 10:00, 11:30 and 1:00. Blues and R & B Thursday sets are free to attend with a 2 drink minimum – music from 8:00-12:00. $5 cover and 2 drink minimum for Monday night jazz jam sessions. Doors open at 10:00 PM for first set and jam follows at 11:30.

Showman's 375 West 125th Street (East of Morningside Ave.) 212-864-8941.
Next door to the down-home, soul food mecca: M & G Diner
M - Th Sets: 8:30, 10, 11:30. Friday and Saturday Sets: 10:30, 12:30, 2:30. Two drink minimum per set. Jazz tap dancing on Thursdays. A beautiful blending of the genteel with the earthy soul histories of Harlem can be found in this well appointed local showcase, which has been home to the greats (e.g. Sara Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Eartha Kitt) since 1942. (In its current location since August of 1998). A Hammond B-3 organ graces the stage, and is put to good use by Danny Mixon -- check the schedule. Soul food appetizers are always available for the asking.

Smalls 183 West 10th Street, at 7th Avenue (212) 252-5091
This club has become an institution since it opened up in 1994. It has provided the opportunity for many of New York's up-and-coming artists to really develop, and continues to be the spot in the Village for jazz - 7 days a week, two or more bands a night.

Smoke 2751 Broadway (at 106th St) 212-864-6662
Picking up where Augie's (its forerunner) left off, Smoke has developed into a hip and casually swank jazz joint with the chops and personalities to recommend it to serious fans of NY jazz. Sets at 9, 11, 12:30. Bar closes at 4:00. $10 drink tickets serve as the cover charge. Big name acts could cost quite a bit more, and reservations are a must on those special occasions. Monday and Thursday night jam sessions encourages vocalists and players to step up.

S.O.B.'s - 204 Varick @ Houston Street (212) 243-4940.
Only Latin and Brazilian bands here.  More mainstream music than Sweet Basil or Iridium.  Pretty expensive, but the bar is near the bandstand. Dinner and dancing served!

Sofia's 221 W. 46th St. (btwn. 8th Ave. & Broadway) (212) 719-5799.
This is the Italian restaurant at the 1931 Edison Hotel which features jazz music in its bar Tuesdays - Saturdays 7:00 P.M. to 12:00. Call ahead for schedule. No Cover.

St. Nick’s Pub 773 St. Nicholas Blvd. (Corner of 149th St.) 212-283-9728.
Best Monday night jam session in the city. The scene gets kicking at midnight. There is a tourist scene prior to the Monday jam with Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet driving the festivities beginning at 9:30. For the last half dozen years, Friday nights have belonged to the Bill Saxton Trio...highly recommended! Thursday features the club's charming singing bartender, Arlene Talley. Guest artists frequently stop by to sit in. Among them: James Carter, Olu Dara, Savion Glover, Reggie Workman, Wynton Marsalis, Laurel Watson, Etta Jones, even Stevie and Aisha Wonder.

The Stone - corner of Avenue C and 2nd street in the East Village.
John Zorn's not-for-profit music space that features experimental and avant-garde jazz. Support downtown jazz!

Swing 46 349 W. 46th Street (btwn. 8th & 9th Aves.) 212-262-9554.
Swing dance & supper club. Featuring Live Bands - Swing & Jump Blues 7 Nights a week. Each night there is a dance lesson at 9:15 pm followed by a live swing band. Sunday - Wednesday the ticket price is $7. Thursday - Saturday it's $12. Suggested dress code - no jeans or sneakers and Jackets are not required.

The Village Vanguard - 178 7th Avenue South at 11th Street (212) 255-4037.  Ahhhhh...home sweet home...the oldest jazz club in the world, this place is alive with the ghosts of Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Stan Getz. You name the jazz musician and he (or she) has played here! Sets are at 9:00pm and 11:00pm (with a 12:30am set on Friday and Saturday nights). Usually a $15 cover w/a $10 minimum. No food served, but it doesn't matter since the sound of the room is appetizing enough. By far, the best room in the land. But beware, the service can be downright awful!  
Zinc Bar 90 W. Houston St. (btwn. Thompson St. & LaGuardia Pl) 212-477-8337.

Zinc Bar 82 West 3rd Street (btwn. Thompson & Sullivan Streets in Greenwich Village). 212-477-8337.
Open 7 days, 6 P.M. - 3:30 A.M. on weeknights, and till 4 A.M. on weekends. $5 cover and a one drink min. Weekly theme nights dominate the schedule. Monday showcases the guitar trio of Ron Affif at 8:00 and 9:00. Featured bands play 3 sets Mon. -Thurs. at 10:30, 12, and 2:00. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are jazz nights, while Thursdays are Latin, Fridays are African and Saturdays are Brazilian Bossa Nova. Fri. and Sat. the first set starts at 11. Sundays bring poetry readings at 6:30, and Brazilian Samba groups into the night. A lounge exists in back for larger parties to hang and meet friends.

(source: bigapplejazz.com)

Musicians

Andrew Adair - After many years living and working in New York City (he toured the world with Donald Harrison's band and released a CD on the Spanish label, Fresh Sounds), Andrew moved to Washington, D.C. a few years ago and is now is the first call pianist in that town. He's a swinger, that's for sure! And a talented vocalist, too. Check out his new CD on his new site.

Sheryl Bailey - This fabulous, extremely talented guitarist has been a New York native for over ten years now, but her music has taken her around the world with the likes of Richard Bona and David Krakauer. Sheryl is an awesome musician and composer and all-around beautiful person!

Chris Bergson - A very talented guitarist in his own right, Chris is a mean Blues singer, too! Check out his site for some great photos and slammin' music samples.

Paul Carlon - A multi-talented saxophone player who plays all the reeds and composes beautiful songs, many based on latin-music, his projects include his Octet and work, work with Grupo Los Santos, and Harvey S.

Frank Fagnano - Recording engineer extraordinaire, this guy is also a great drummer. Check out his site to see who he has worked with in the studio...

Grupo Los Santos - This latin-jazz group is devoted to both preserving the rich tradition and pushing forward into new areas of composition and groove. Beaver Bausch (drums), Pete Smith (guitar), and Paul Carlon (saxophones) have been playing together for over a decade, and their music is subsequently some of the most unique "band sounds" out there. Dave Ambrosio holds it all together on bass.

Keith Hall - A super-swinging drummer who is currently holding down the drum chair in Curtis Stiger's band. Great sound samples on his site!

Dimitri Moderbacher - Web site of this New York City tenor saxophonist. Hear his beautiful tone and swinging originals via sound samples of his newest CD, "Close To My Heart."

Phil Palombi - This New York City bassist is in high demand these days due to the soulful and smart sounds coming out of his instrument.

Dan Pratt - One of the hot young tenors on the New York scene. He's a busy sideman who also leads his own groups in many venues in and around New York.

Matt Ray - This pianist has got talent coming out his you-know-what! Great jazz player and indy-rock singer. Don't miss his cooperative, Smith and Ray.

Rumba Tap - The website of Max Pollack, one of the hottest tappers on the scene today who is the only one to truly combine the tradition of tap dancing with the rich rhythms of Rumba from Cuba. As Gregory Hines has stated: "Max Pollak is one of the finest young tap artists on the planet!"

Tri-Fi - This trio, consisting of Matthew Fries on piano, Phil Palombi on bass, and Keith Hall on drums, has a new CD out that you can pick up on their site. You can also download individual songs in MP3 format for only $1.00. Check them out! They have a real "band" sound, as they've been backing up the vocalist, Curtis Stigers, for over four years now.

Akiko Tsuruga - Although piano is her first instrument, she's making a name for herself around town as a totally swinging organ player. She's also got a great CD out with Grady Tate on drums (see her web site for the details).

Nicki Denner - A fantastic pianist who specializes in latin music, she's also a darn good tap dancer, too. Her music is slammin'!

Joan Crowe - As Michael Bourne of WBGO in New York has stated, "Joan Crowe gets to the heart of a song's story, and she's funny." Indeed, her music is swingining and her show will make you laugh!

Michael Spike Wilner - A classic pianist who swings his ass off, he holds court every Sunday night at Smalls in the Village. It's always a treat to go see him play.

Toru Dodo - Not only does he have one of the best names in jazz, this cat can swing is ass off!

Other Sites

Justice for Jazz Artists! - The Local 802 Union here in NYC is working with jazz clubs to ensure that musicians receive the maximum available statutory benefits, like workers’ comp, unemployment, and disability, that the New York State legislature is requring jazz clubs to pay. Tax money has been made available so that the club owners would pass on the money to the musician's pension plans, and yet these owners have yet to make the money available. Support Justice for Jazz Artists! so that these great artists can be taken care of in their retirement.

100 Greatest Jazz Albums - a personal blog listing 100 Top Jazz CD picks.

120 Years of Electronic Music - a sweet little site that tracks the development of electronic music from 1870-1990. The list actually starts in 1759, if you can believe that!

Actors Fund - The Actors Fund is a nationwide human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment. The Fund is a safety net, providing programs and services for those who are in need, crisis or transition.

AllAboutJazz - This fantastic site is your one-stop web site to find out about all that's going on in today's wide world of jazz. A great resource for recordings, musicians, labels - you name it...

Axis of Justice - The purpose of the Axis is to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. They aim to build a bridge between fans of music around the world and local political organizations to effectively organize around issues of peace, human rights, and economic justice.

Big Apple Jazz Tours - Join Gordon Polatnick on his nightly jaunt of New York's hidden jazz haunts. According to jazz expert Polatnick, "Our mission is to reinvigorate the jazz scene in NYC, by introducing fans to the more authentic and hidden jazz events that occur below the radar of most visitors." Gordon knows his stuff, and his site is jam packed with jazz info. From Jazz Festivals to Jazz Shopping, if you're interested in the jazz scene in New York City, you have got to visit his site!

Congahead.com - Run by Martin Cohen, this site is an incredible resource of documentation of latin-jazz performers, both young and old. He's also got great footage up on YouTube, which you can get to from his Congahead site.

Future of Music Coalition - The FMC actualizes its mission through a number of activities. 1) They organize public discussion of issues that impact musicians and the public at large, making sure to include a variety of voices in the conversation. 2) They submit testimony, publish articles and speak on panels to make sure the creators' experience is heard. 3) They encourage musicians and citizens to publicly document their experiences on the FMC website. 4) They generate original research on historic trends and issues of import to the public to more completely illuminate the mechanics of the music industry.

Guerilla Funk - This site is a musical organization that was founded by Paris - the politically conscious artist. Specifically intended to "counter the corporate stranglehold of censorship currently plaguing the entertainment industry," Paris and his colleagues do not hold back in their criticisms of our current political climate - definitely incendiary!

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network - Russell Simmons is leveraging his Hip-Hop conglomerate into an activist network that is rallying the black community specifically, and all of us generally, to progressive causes that are making a real difference in people's lives.

Hospital Audiences - Hospital Audiences provides cultural access through music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts to people with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly, seriously ill children in social service facilities, and children in grades K-12.

Invention for 900 Hands - James Barron of the New York Times has been documenting the creation, from inception to delivery, of Steinway Grand No. K0862 in a series of nine articles appearing at various intervals in The Times since May 11, 2003. This fascinating study of how 450 workers create the mystique that is the Steinway Grand is truly amazing.

As the article states: "It is something of a mystery. The same 450 workers bend and shape the wood the same way. The sounding boards are made to the same specifications. The strings and pins, hammers and keys - there should be no variation. Yet every piano that Steinway & Sons produces has its own sound. Some Steinways are modest, some monumental. And no one knows exactly why."

Jammates - These guys are committed to recording jazz musicians in live settings, capturing those moments that only take place in front of audiences. They are also involved in artist management.

Jazz Connect - Their on-line musicians directory, The Jazzconnect Cyber-Union©™ has been created for the professional musician. The comprehensive profile created for each musician allows the musician to effectively network and efficiently hire other musicians for gigs.

Jazz Corner - This site is the largest portal for the official websites of hundreds of jazz musicians and organizations. JazzCorner.com designs, hosts, and promotes all the sites that are part of their jazz portal and they are always updating their content. Check out the video portion of their site, for instance, with over 1,000 jazz videos available for free!

Jazz Review - This site is devoted to reviews and industry news. A terrific resource, along with their sister site, Jazz Preview.

Just Jazz - New York-based music agency that books small to medium-sized jazz ensembles for corporate events, private functions, and fundraisers. Over 50 sound samples of various groups, with many free MP3 downloads!

MusicSpace.com - For all of those old top 40 hits when you were growing up. Compilations galore!

Musicians on Call - This organization provides live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities. The organization uses music as a piece of the healing process for patients, their families, and caregivers.

National Performance Network - NPN provides support for established and emerging artists in dance, music, theater, performance art, puppetry, and spoken word. It serves as the developmental rung on the ladder for emerging contemporary performing artists because it provides rare or first-time touring opportunities.

New York Directory - all things New York, music and beyond.

Pitchforkmedia - The go-to site for reviews of all music non-jazz & non-classical.

The Pizza Parlor Prodigy - Master Cellist, Matt Haimovitz, gave up the money and the high-powered classical orchestra soloist career for a more "local" touring career - appearing in your local coffee shop and beer-drenched pizza joint in Mississippi (for instance). Read this essay which appeared in the May 2, 2004, issue of the Arts Section in the NY Times. Good job, Matt!

ReServe - ReServe connects New York City's retired professionals with compensated service opportunities that challenge them to use their lifetime skills for the public good.

Sharon Louden - New York-based visual artist who shows her drawings, paintings, and large-scale sculptural installations throughtout the U.S. and Europe.

Sing for Hope - Sing For Hope mobilizes professional artists in volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals, and communities.

 

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