Gordon Polatnick's BigAppleJazz.Com

Jazz Clubs List of New York City

Harlem Jazz Clubs

 
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(Sugar Hill, Spanish Harlem, Central Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, Morningside Heights)


Sponsored By: BIG APPLE JAZZ TOURS
 
 

Tour References   New Tour: Harlem Juke Joint Crawl

Cut to the chase: New York City Jazz Clubs Bible

A note about Harlem: If you're not hesitant regarding New York City in general, you need not be hesitant about Harlem.
If you're not sure, take a big apple jazz tour and see for yourself.

HARLEM CLUBS (and points north)
Listings below in Bold print are known to book primarily jazz music nightly.  All others are known to book jazz less frequently.  They are listed here for your convenience.

 

449 LA Scat
(212) 234-3298
449 Lenox Ave.
(132nd / 133rd)
Great neighborhood art gallery, cafe, and jazz scene.  Check out the jazz on Thursdays through Sundays..  Call for other events.  $10 cover charge includes Sangria and other beverages and snacks.  Thursday 6-9, Friday 9-Until..., Saturday night 8-until.;Sundays two bands: 1PM-3PM and 4-8PM. Now featuring a great piano donated by Melody Breyer-Grell by way of EZ's Woodshed.  The regular calendar features the super segueing sounds of pianist David Durrah, and multi-talented Atiba Kwabena's Befo Quotet.

Aaron Davis Hall  CCNY
Now known as:
Harlem Stage: The Gatehouse, Marian Anderson Theater, Theater B and Studio C
(212) 281-9240 X19
150 Convent Ave.
(At W. 135th St.)
Call or check online for event schedules.
CCNY campus on Sugar Hill in Harlem is the home of this state of the art theater complex.

American Legion Post (Col. Charles Young #398)
(212) 283-9701

248 W. 132nd St.
(7th / 8th)
The free Sunday evening jam session begins 7:30 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 quartet of sidemen help anchor the weekly jam session.  The drink prices are by far the best in town, and the familial atmosphere is even better than that.  Jazz music has been added on Wednesday (fish fry) nights with Jason Marshall's Quartet; and Thursday nights with a midweek Hammond B3 session with Sam Gresham on drums.   Note:  You are required to sign a guest book as you enter, but there is never a cover charge or minimum.  Seating is very limited so early arrivals are rewarded - if you do take a table please do support the venue by ordering something from the bar or kitchen.  If you're a musician be prepared to sit in.  Friday and Saturday nights are for dancing to the classic soul records, but no live music.

Apollo Theater
(212) 531-5300 X 305 for info
(212) 749-5838 for box office
(212) 531-5337 for tour
253 W. 125th St.  
( 7th / 8th Aves.)
The Apollo doesn't book much jazz these days, but they do present some wonderful events like A Great Night in Harlem benefit and are a big part of the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival started in 2011.  The legendary Wednesday  Amateur Night is still a strong draw though.  The Saturday night TV version of the same has been cancelled, but the live show is where it's always been since Ella Fitzgerald won the competition in 1934.   She had originally intended to go on stage and dance, but, intimidated by the Edward Sisters, a local dance duo, she opted to sing instead. She sang Hoagy Carmichael's "Judy" and "The Object of My Affection," a song recorded by the Boswell Sisters, and won the first prize of $25.00.  Take the tour of the Apollo with Billy Mitchell by reservation.  There are also tours available from Big Apple Jazz Tours that start from in front of the Apollo every Sunday and cover the legendary jazz history of the area with lots of live music to enjoy.

Arka Lounge 
(212) 567-9425
4488 Broadway
(192nd / 191st)
Not sure if they still have live Latin Jazz.  Certainly plenty of DJ sounds.   Call ahead for upcoming events.  

A Touch of Dee:
(212) 694-9530
657-659 Malcolm X Boulevard
(Lenox - corner of 143rd Street)
No cover, low-rent local jam in a neighborhood pub.  It doesn't get any more organic than this.  Every other Thursday from 8 - 11PM.  See Sheldon Sweeper, Keith "The Captain" Gamble, Roger Anderson, Leeolive Tucker, and all the usual suspects mix it up for 3 hours of pure Harlem old school enjoyment.

Aurum
(646) 719-1157
2252 First Ave
(116th/115th Streets)

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
(212) 961-1416
947 Amsterdam Ave.

(at 106th -- Duke Ellington Blvd.)
Jazz performers periodic Fridays.   Call in advance for their latest schedule.

Baton Rouge  RIP
(212) 281-2336 or 212 876-9300
458 W 145th St (Amsterdam / Convent Avenues)
Live music on the weekends -- sometimes jazz sometimes R&B, etc.  The setting in an elegant Sugar Hill brownstone is pure Harlem -- and a great place to experience Creole inspired dishes by the folks who hit a grand slam along with their MoBay Restaurants in Brooklyn and Central Harlem.  Friday nights feature crawfish boils, Saurdays are BBQ - all you can eat for $20.  And check the calendar for Speakeasy nights with great jazz and blues.  Closed on Mondays through Thursdays for private parties.

Big Apple Jazz / EZ's Woodshed RIP - Closed July 2008:
(212) 283-JAZZ (
5299) for more information and tour information please call 718 606-8442
2236 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.  (7th Ave)
(131st / 132nd) 
youtube page
Gordon and Dr. Lonnie SmithOpen 7 days a week with jazz from 2PM - no cover and no minimum. Up to 3 bands and 9 sets daily. EZ's Woodshed is our own establishment in the back of the Big Apple Jazz Store and Cafe, located down the street from the legendary "Corner", where the mystical Tree of Hope once stood.  EZ's is a "Day Club," that offers you an opportunity to hear great local jazz during the daytime.  Musicians show up to sit in or promote their night gigs and cd's.  Nina Simone original woodcarving by Christopher Wallace - For Sale in EZ's WoodshedYou may come by when a living legend stops by to play or hang out.  Consider this your jazz home away from home.  The store carries all the essential cd's that were rec
orded live in local New York clubs, and  independent cd's by the best NY musicians.  If you're looking for the next Miles, Mingus and Monk, or Billie, Betty, and Bobbi, all roads lead to EZ's Woodshed.  We also carry a wonderful selection of local jazz-themed art in our gallery and less expensive framed or rolled posters of vintage concerts from NY's legendary clubs and EZ's Woodshed Cafe at Big Apple Jazz in Harlemperformers.  And you have to try our Bebop Coffee, Swing Potato Pie and other pastry delights.  No cover charge. Great hand-crafted wood interior design by master woodworkers: Michael T. Stevens and Matthew Erickson.  Open daily from 10:30 - 8:30 (11:30PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays).  And check out Chris Wallace's remarkable hand-carved sign and jazz portraits of Nina and Dizzy.  YOUTUBE DOCUMENTARY

Bill's Place
148 W133rd Street
(Lenox and AC Powell Jr. Blvd.)
(212) 281-0777
Bill's Place - Harlem Jazz Scene photo by Gordon PolatnickI am very proud to be able to tell you of the most authentic Harlem jazz venue to open up on 133rd Street since a 17 year old Billie Holiday was discovered here 8 decades ago.  If you really want to hear great,
Bobby Watson and Bill Saxton at Bill's Place, photo by Gordon Polatnickno nonsense straight ahead jazz by the masters, you'll find your way to this finely decorated brownstone at 148 W133rd Street.  Your host is Harlem legend and bad ass saxist, Bill Saxton, who performs every Friday and Saturday.  If the Big Apple Jazz stamp of approval means anything at all, it should eventually help make Bill's Place the most worshipped weekend jazz scene in the city.  Two sets per night at 9 and 11 for a $20 cash cover.  Some refreshments served and you can bring your own as well.

Café Largo  RIP
(212)
3387 Broadway
(137th St.)

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
(212) 860-1370
(110th Street at 5th Ave. in Central Park)
A diverse weekly music festival ensues every summer for free.  Sundays from 2-4PM . Great music in a great setting.  Check link for details. On the body of water known as the Harlem Meer.  Beautiful.

Clemente's  RIP
(212)
2056 2nd Ave.
(106th Street)

 

Copeland's Restaurant - RIP - 2007
(212) 234-2357
547 W 145th St
(Amsterdam / Broadway)
Sunday gospel brunch is very popular in this neighborhood favorite.   Also live jazz dinner shows on Fridays and Saturdays.  The cuisine is Southern Soul.
 Closed Mondays.  Check their schedule by phone or web.

 

The Cotton Club
(212) 663-7980
656 West 125th Street
(West of Broadway)
This is not the original Harlem Cotton Club, which moved to midtown and finally closed decades ago.  The current Cotton Club is at the gateway to Sugar Hill, way on the west side of 125th Street.  Set up largely for groups and rented out for private parties, they do bring back the heyday of the Harlem swing tradition with a full size big band and vocalists.  Buffet dinner & Jazz show Friday & Saturday evenings featuring Ann Sinclair.  Monday and Wednesday is Swing Dance Night.  Doors open 8pm-12 midnight. $15 music charge.  Gospel brunch at 12 and 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday.  Call ahead to find out what's in store for you.

Creole  RIP 2013
(212) 876-8838
2167 3rd Ave.
(118th Street)
Miss Cantrese performing in December 2005 in Creole photo by Gordon PolatnickGreat Creole cuisine by way of New Orleans and music from around 8PM - 12AM - check schedule for music nights - also check their website to find out the cover charges and minimums and the music policy for the night in question.  Expect to find a lively scene with good food, live music in a fine looking Spanish Harlem restaurant/club.  Tuesdays and Fridays are consistently great with the celebrated jazz guitarist, JC Stylles, on Tuesdays, and decidedly heroic drum master, Killer Ray Appleton, leading a fine quartet on Fridays.
 

The Den  RIP  
(212) 234-3045
2150 5th Ave
(131st /132nd  St.)

Check their schedule online to keep up with their jazz offerings.  This is a nicely appointed neighborhood hang, with a good menu and a lot of spirit.  (This is the former location of Gishen Cafe).

 

 

Duffie's Place Bar & Lounge
(212) 238-9093
2361 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd
(7th Avenue @ 138th Street)
Presents Sunday Brunch Buffet.  With Live Jazz 12pm - 3pm.  Open Mic 2-3pm. $10.00 Music Charge.  Includes: Delicious Free Buffet.  Every Sunday.

EZ's Woodshed
RIP - Closed July 2008:
(212) 283-JAZZ (5299)for more information and tour information please call 718 606-8442
2236 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.  (7th Ave)
(131st / 132nd)

Hakim Jami at EZ's Woodshed 2008Jazz from 2PM - no cover and no minimum. Up to 3 bands and 8 sets daily. EZ'sEZ's Woodshed at Big Apple Jazz - 2236 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, Harlem, NY Woodshed is our own establishment in the back of the Big Apple Jazz Boutique and Cafe, located down the street from the legendary "Corner," where Harlem's mystical Tree of Hope once stood.  EZ's is a "Day Club," that offers you an opportunity to hear great local jazz during the daytime.  Musicians show up to sit in or promote their night gigs and cd's.  You may come by when a living legend stops by to play or hang out.  Nina Simone original woodcarving by Christopher Wallace - For Sale in EZ's WoodshedConsider this your jazz home away from home.  The store carries all the essential cd's that were recorded live in local New York clubs, and the largest selections of independent cd's by currently gigging NY musicians.  If you're looking for the next Miles, Mingus and Monk, or Billie, Betty, and Ella, all roads lead to EZ's Woodshed.  We also carry a wonderful selection of local jazz-themed art in our gallery and less expensive framed or rolled posters of vintage concerts from NY's legendary clubs and performers.  And you have to try our Bebop Coffee, Swing Potato Pie and other pastry delights.  No cover charge. Great hand-crafted wood design by master woodworkers: Michael T. Stevens and Matthew Erickson.  Open daily from 10:30 - 8:30.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights we have EZ's Evenings, with sets from 8:30PM - 11:00PM for a small cover charge and no minimum.  While you're here, don't forget to check out Chris Wallace's remarkable hand-carved EZ's Woodshed sign, and Nina and Dizzy portraits in wood.   EZ's Woodshed on YouTube.




 

 

Ginny's Supper Club at Red Rooster Harlem
(212) 421-3821
310 Lenox Ave
(W125th / W126th St.)

Currently the swankiest best kept secret of the Harlem jazz scene.  Local and internationally known talent are filling up the schedule in this subterranean speakeasy.  Tickets range in price from $10-$30.  Upstairs at Red Rooster's bar the music is free and swinging.  Gospel brunch offered on Sundays.

 

Gishen Café  Now the Den.   RIP
(212) 283-7699
2150 5th Ave. 
(131st / 132nd)
Please stay tuned to this site to keep up with the current status of this club.  We are not certain what their jazz policy is at this time.

 

 

 

Harlem Grill  RIP 2007
(212) 491.0495
2247 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (7th Ave)
(132 St / 133 St.)
Fine dining and live jazz one night a week.  More info to come.

Harlem Tavern
(212)866-4500
2153 Frederick Douglass Bvld
(NW corner 116th and Frederick Douglass Blvd. - 8th Ave.)

Jazz and New Orleans on Tuesday and Wednesday nights respectively at this new beer garden located right on top of the C/B subway line at 116th Street.  Weekend brunches feature jazz as well.  Be prepared for a nice, loud party scene with plenty of big screen TV's and a great selection of beers, cocktails, wine and interesting dishes.  For music lovers, ask to be seated at tables by the band or at the north section of the bar.  Big Apple Jazz Presents some of the Tuesday and Wednesday night artists so you know the bookings will be excellent.  Check the calendar listings online.  No cover / no minimum.

Harlem Stage: The Gatehouse, Marian Anderson Theater, Theater B and Studio C
(212) 281-9240 X19
150 Convent Ave.
(At W. 135th St.)
Call or check online for event schedules.
CCNY campus on Sugar Hill in Harlem is the home of this state of the art theater complex.

Harlem Tap RIP (with Omar and Dormeshia
West 149th Street / Just West of St. Nicholas
One-of-a-kind tap and improv music jam in the tiny but superbly decked out tap studio of married international celebrities, Omar Edwards and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards.  Bring your shoes or your axe or just come to party.  All night on most Saturdays from 9 until the sun soon comes up.

Hideaway Cocktail Lounge
(212) 283-8384
3578 Broadway
(SE Corner 147th and Broadway)
Local lounge with a great neighborhood vibe and no cover charge. Check in advance to see if live music is still being offered.

 

 

Hughes House in Harlem  - RIP -
20 East 127th Street (Langston Hughes Place)
(5th / Madison)
 

Jazz Mobile
(212) 866-3616

A moveable fiesta

Houston Person, July 7, 2003, West 138th Street, Harlem, USACall the above number to see who's on...for now the web page is gone.  Jazz Mobile offers free summer concerts in NYC neighborhoods Monday through Friday and around historic landmarks (such as Grant's Tomb every Wednesday and Marcus Garvey Park every Friday). The quality and renown of the players is invariably high.  This is Jazz Mobile's 4th decade and it's still New York's best kept secret.  It doesn't get more real than this.  Even with this notice, you will see 99% New Yorkers at these gigs, although visitors are more than welcome.

Jazz Museum in Harlem
(212) 348-8300
104 East 126th Street.  #2C
(Park / Lexington Avenues)
The Jazz Museum in Harlem proudly announces a new bi-weekly series, "HARLEM SPEAKS."  The series will be held at the museum's offices from 6:30pm-8:00pm on alternating Thursdays, starting on May 6th. Honorees include Harlem-based songstress Melba Joyce, whose artistry has been praised by Louis Armstrong and countless other peers (May 6th); the superb pianist Danny Mixon, musical director of the Lenox Lounge (May 20th); Mr. Alvin Reed, Sr., proprietor of the acclaimed Harlem jazz club and restaurant, the Lenox Lounge (June 3);and Joe Gayles, saxophonist with Dizzy Gillespie's 1947 band (June 17th, 2004).  Keep in touch with the current honorees by calling or visiting their website.

Jessie's Place  RIP
(212) 795-4168
812 W. 181st Street 
(Corner of Pinehurst)
Jesse's is a bar/restaurant/lounge with live jazz Sunday's 12 - 3 for a jazz brunch.  Expect to find instrumental duets with a rotating roster of local talent.  No cover and no minimum.

Jimmy’s Uptown     RIP  Now Called Zip Code, JAZZ on TUESDAYS - Now Closed again
(212) 491-4000
2207 7th Ave  (Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd)
(130th / 131st)
Fine dining restaurant/bar on street level.  Live music lounge upstairs has private and public events, so it's best to call in advance.  Jimmy's is the best example of catering to a new vision of Harlem that subscribes to a current aesthetic of glamour, comfort and service.  When you walk in your first impression is "New York," and not necessarily "Harlem."

Judi's Bar and Lounge
(212) 690-0353
2308 7th Ave. (Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd)
(135th / 136th Streets)
Call ahead to see if there will be music playing at Judi's like the Hammond organ nights they used to do.

The Lenox Lounge RIP in historic location--soon may reopen at 333 Lenox Ave
(212) 427-0253
288 Lenox Ave. 
(124th / 125th Sts.)

Recently renovated to its 1939 art deco splendor. The Zebra Room in back has a baby grand piano, tiled floors and leather banqueted booths and is one of the finest looking jazz spaces in town. Local jazz legends booked on weekends with a $20 cover charge and $16 drink minimum per set. The 2 Sets are 8:30 and 10:30.   Monday nights with Patience Higgins and the Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet or Eric Wyatt's band with the jam following and heating up till 2:30 AM.   Tuesdays feature vocalist, Sweet Georgia Brown, the last of the red hot mammas. Wednesday has the remarkable Nathan Lucas organ quartet from 8:00-12:00.  Thursday Urban and R & B covers with Fred McFarland.  Sundays vocal jam session gets cooking at 7:00 PM and goes till 11:00 PM led by the great pianist Lafayette Harris.  Southern style cooking served.  After hours jam sessions with Harlem legends Bill Saxton and Greg Bandy were added in 2011 Friday and Saturdays after midnight.  Legendary comedian Paul Mooney is featured monthly.

Londel's Restaurant
(212) 234-6114
2620 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
(139th / 140th Streets)
Harlem's long standing fine southern dining establishment, Londel's hasJimmy Preacher Robins and Mike Stewart at Londels in Harlem been featuring great food nightly and great jazz/blues Fridays and Saturdays. Sets at 8, 9 and 10 in newly renovated bar with patio seating.   Reservations are accepted.  The bands tend to be trios and quartets of local heroes such as Kathy Farmer, Captain Keith Gamble, Brandon Sanders, with the occasional delight of hearing Walter Blanding, Chip Crawford, Eric Wyatt or Tia Fuller sitting in.  Closed Mondays.


Luci’s Cocktail Lounge

2306 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
(124th / 123rd )
Luci's is home to The legendary Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.  Every Monday night this 17 piece swing band kicks into high gear from 9:30 to 12:30 hosted by Berta Indeed Productions (212 769-8275). The sliding scale cover charge of $7 for seniors and students / $10 for wage earners, includes a free hot buffet.  And on Thursday it is Club Luci's Jazz Night, with Russlan Khain on bass and his trio.  Call 646.548.0199 for further information.

M & S Front Line
(212) 862-9676
540 W. 145th St.
(Broadway / Amsterdam)

Currently rethinking their music policy.  Stop by and mention that you're a jazz fan, and encourage them to give it another go.

 

Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market
(212) 987-8131
52 West 116th Street
(5th Ave. / Malcolm X Blvd)
Jam at the market.
JAZZ CONCERT & JAM SESSION EVERY SATURDAY 1:00PM -3:30PM
featuring
John “Satchmo” McRae…………….……….……..sax/vocals
and the Satchmo Mannan Band
Wink Ellington Flythe…………….…………………..…reeds
Yayoi Ikawa……………………….……………...piano/organ
Bomi Choi……………………….…………………percussion

Malcolm Shabazz Mosque
102 West 116th Street at Lenox Av
at the confluence of Malcolm X Blvd. and St. Nicholas Avenue

Jazz on Friday nights featuring great local talent and the tradition of cutting contests continues here but few other places in the city.  A buffet dinner and jazz show in the Malcolm Shabazz Mosque is about $25.  Shows begin in the early evening around 7:30PM and no alcohol is served for obvious reasons.  Make sure to check out unsung uptown hero and Ellington protégé, Alvin Wink Flythe on sax.


 

The Miller Theater
(Columbia Univ. campus)
(212) 854-7799
116th and Broadway
The Theatre's entrance is on the northeast corner of 116th Street and Broadway.
The Miller presents a music series led by the talented jazz pianist Eric Reed and special guest artists as they bring to light lesser known yet unprecedented voices of Jazz composition. $30 per show, well worth the price. Last season, the music of Elmo Hope, James Black, and Eric Dolphy was explored by the city's finest musicians.

Minton’s      OPEN FOR BUSINESS  
(212)
243-2222
206 W 118th Street
(7th / St. Nicholas Ave.)
Minton's Playhouse is unique in the history of Harlem Jazz.  It is known as the Birthplace of Bebop, where jam sessions during the recording musicians' strike of the early 1940's evolved the new style of jazz from players like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford, and Charlie Christian.  Re-opened in October of 2013 and re-modeled in glorious splendor the new Minton's is a chic (jackets required) room with an elegant menu ($90 prix-fixe required on all days but Sunday).  Music is provided by a house band configured in duos, trios, and quartets of established jazz stalwarts steeped in American jazz history.  Call for reservations, and schedules.
 

 

Minton’s Playhouse RIP again.  
(212) 864-8346
210 W 118th Street
(7th / St. Nicholas Ave.)


RE-OPENING DAY HAS COME - May 19, 2006.  There will be music up to 7 nights a week in the style of the proprietor's last foray into uptown jazz: St. Nick's Pub.  St. Nick's Pub is still going strong up on 149th Street (see listing below), but patrons wishing to revisit the heyday can try finding it at Minton's Playhouse, where they will see weekly performances by Jack Jeffers, Eli Fountaine, Gerald Hayes, Patience Higgins and tap dancer, Omar Edwards, along with their groups. Sunday though Tuesday will have no cover charge. Wednesday – Saturday: $10 Cover/ 2 Drink minimum.  Show times: Sunday Starting at 9PM.  Monday-Friday starting at 10PM.  Seating First Come First Served -- Bar opens at 3PM.  NOTE: Big Apple Jazz is running a Harlem tour including Minton's Playhouse and other hidden jazz haunts that continue to excite audiences in ways that downtown clubs have been trying to emulate for the past 80 years.  Call Gordon for tour reservations and details: 212 283-JAZZ. and visit our Tour Page.

LATEST NEWS for Minton's: As of 9/2/13 it is reported that Dick Parsons' Minton's will open in mid-October 2013.  See listing above.

Mo Bay  RIP 2012
(212) 876-9300
17 W. 125th Street
( 5th / Lenox)
Music from 8:30 - 12:00 on Tuesdays through Sundays, in the lounge of this fine Jamaican restaurant newly opened in Harlem.   Gospel brunches from 11 - 5 on Sundays and dinner music after that till 10PM.  Please check their website for menus and entertainment updates.  The food is so good and the atmosphere is so lively, you'll have a great time every time.

National Jazz Museum of Harlem
(212) 348-8300
104 E. 126th Street
Open Mon, Wed-Fri 10am-4pm; Tue 10am-8:30pm
Coming "soon" to 125th street across from the Apollo in Harlem.  Check their website for updates and further information on museum plans.  In the meantime, enjoy a weekly array of activities from live archiving interviews with NY's jazz elite, jazz movies, concerts, lectures and fund raising events.  Also, check out their visitors center, and Savory Collection of rare recordings from the golden age of jazz.   This promises to be the most important jazz institution in the world, which will accommodate visitors seeking out the jazz history of Harlem in a way that's never been accomplished on this scale before and is way overdue.  Events currently take place in several venues throughout Manhattan so check ahead for addresses.

New Amsterdam Musical Association
(aka NAMA)
(212) 234-2973
107 West 130th Street,
(Lenox / 7th),
The nation’s oldest Black musical association has its weekly jam session on Monday nights from 7:30PM - 11:30PM, and all are welcome.  The organization dates back 100 years and has a storied history that includes some of the biggest names in jazz including Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Eubie Blake, Sonny Greer, Zutty Singleton, Dicky Wells, Count Basie and many great players who never became household names.  The association is located in the same brownstone that it has occupied since the 1930's.  Join tenor saxist, Willie Mack, 73, the group's premier teacher,  and John E. Johnson, President of NAMA for other activities helping to pass jazz in Harlem into the hands of the next generation of players.

New Leaf Café
(212) 568-5323
1 Margaret Corbin Drive,
Fort Tryon Park
(Take the A train to 190th Street)
(Plenty of parking)
The New Leaf is literally the most hidden jazz haunt in Manhattan and therefore most romantic.  Even having the address doesn't begin to help you find this charming depression era stone cottage in the midst of Manhattan's lovely Fort Tryon Park high above the city (in elevation as well as streetwise).  Look for it down the road from the Cloisters Museum.  Check website for jazz events.

Orbit Restaurant and Bar RIP
(212) 348-7818
2257 1st Avenue
(SW corner of E. 116th Street)

"A Different Planet Lands in East Harlem."  This is a great neighborhood hang with an excellent menu and some very fine entertainment and wonderful decor.  Please call in advance for reservations and to keep up with their live music schedule.  There is a bar for those not choosing to enjoy a meal.  No cover charge.  Open till the wee hours.

Paris Blues
212-864-9110
2021 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. (7th Ave)
(Corner 121st St.)
All roads lead to Paris Blues.  Nightly music that always allows for guest musicians sitting in at later sets means the atmosphere is inviting and the vibe is loose.  Opened as a bar (1969), it has evolved in recent years as a prime spot for Harlem regulars (fans and musicians) to hang and play jazz ranging from hard bop with the Melvin Vines, Charles Davis, Jr,. and Tyrone Govan making up the Harlem Jazz Machine Sundays and Fridays; and Les Goodson, Don Pate, Marcus Persiani, Victor Wise making up the Intergalactic Voodoo Jazz Groove Hooptidoo Band on Wednesdays; Tyrone Govan's Top Secret holds down R&B, Jazz, Blues (and guitar antics) on Thursdays, and John Cooksey swings with his Spontaneous Combustion quartet on Mondays with Marvin Horne on guitar.  Free hot food and warm smiles from Esther behind the bar and rumors of a late night session for 2014 may extend the live music from passed 1AM till 4AM makes this the place to be.

Parlor Entertainment
(212) 781-6595
555 Edgecombe Ave, #3F (Corner of 160th St.)
This is the essence of Harlem jazz -- a rite of passage for all jazz fans and musicians alike.  Get buzzed up to Apt. #3F,  Marjorie and Rudel welcome you into their home every! Sunday afternoon at 4:00 sharp to enjoy two sets of standards and original music provided by a rotating roster of jazz legends and local talent.  Marjorie's living room is absolutely the warmest, most spirited 200 square feet in all New York.  No cover; tip jar; free salad and punch.  Sundays are never in question, just show up early enough to get a seat with sight lines.  Be prepared to generously donate or I'll come get you.  Read an online article

Perk's  RIP
(212) 666-8500
553 Manhattan Ave.
(W. 123rd / W. 124th)
Call ahead for current jazz policy. Mondays are kicking.  Wednesday features the serious grooves of Ian Hendrickson- Smith from the Dap Kings.  Thursday is open jam with the
Jason Campbell Trio from 8-12.  No cover.  (For those who miss the Cafe Creole down on MacDougal Street, this is where the proprietors ended up). 

Revival -- RIP
(212) 222-8338
2367 Fred. Douglass Blvd.
(8th Avenue & 127th St.)
French Caribbean Creole Cuisine.  Live jazz policy is still being worked out, so keep in touch to find out what's in store.

The River Room  RIP. Now Tian. Now Riverbank Grill (2013)
(212) 491-1500
Riverbank State Park
at the western end of 145th Street
Great Views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge make this one of the more beautiful and serene restaurants.  Call ahead for swing band and Latin jazz nights.

Robin’s Nest Restaurant & Bar  RIP
(212) 316-6170
457 W. 125th St.
(Amsterdam / Morningside)
This is the most recent of Harlem's modest restaurants where you can catch classic R&B mixed with pounding Hammond B-3 based jazz.  There is no cover charge, just a two drink minimum.  The week is starting to fill up with jazz players and other entertainments: Sunday -- Jam Session with superior drummer Eli Fontaine;  Rotating weekend talent makes good use of the Hammond B3 organ.  Please call them for scheduling updates.  Delicious Harlem style soul food dinner and lunch are also available at reasonable rates.

St. Nick's Pub CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - March 2011
photo of club

(212) 283-9728

773 St. Nicholas Blvd.  (Corner of 149th St.)
This club had an amazing run for the last decade and is now under new management. The owners are giving St. Nick's Pub a second chance at greatness.  They've added free food with no cover charge and stage lights to entice fans back uptown to see the latest roster of players who are filling up the schedule with weekly gigs, 7 nights a week from 10pm - 2am.  Mondays jam with Melvin Vines - trumpet, Chip Crawford -keys, Mike Grey - trombone  and Tuesdays join them again with featured vocalist, Kay Mori and the Kortet.  Wednesdays has Rahn Burton on keys and Vicky Kelly's old school vocals, and on Thursdays different bands rotate through.  Friday night is the standing room only event of the week, as Donald Smith leads the best weekly session you're likely to see.  West African music every Saturday.  And Sundays belongs to TC III's singers' workshop. St. Nick’s Pub, club review with additional photos.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
(212) 491-22O6
515  Malcolm X Blvd.
(at 135th St)
A great research library that sometimes features jazz events and always presents topical art exhibits throughout the year.

Showman's
(212) 864-8941
375 West 125th Street
(East of Morningside Ave.)   
Tues - Thurs. sets: 8:30, 10, 11:30.   Friday and Saturday sets:  9:30PM, 11:30PM  &  1:30AM  A beautiful blending of the genteel and the earthy soul histories of Harlem can be found in this well-appointed jazz showcase, which has been home to the greats (e.g. Sara Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Eartha Kitt, Pearl Bailey) 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, Seleno Clarke, and Nathan Lucas  among others -- call to check their schedule.  Soul food appetizers are always available -- free for the asking.  Two drink minimum (@ $14 minimum) per set is strictly enforced.

Shrine
(212) 690-7807
2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd
(W133/ W134)
If you're looking for an ever-changing uptown musical scene where genres are busted wide open without losing focus on the beat, then you'll love to hang out at Shrine.  It's laid back enough so you don't have to worry if you're dressed right, and cool enough to take your most insecure hipster pals.  Named for the Lagos, Nigeria musical enclave of the Fela Kuti clan, the interior design features a great low-budget reproduction of the Afrobeat master and plenty of bargain bin lp covers that will send you reeling back to the music heard on transistor radios in Harlem decades ago.  Shows are often free and the kitchen is often open and the vibe is always chill.  When there's not live music there's a dj keeping up the groove.  The future of Harlem if found today in Shrine.

Sister's Uptown Bookstore
1942 Amsterdam Avenue
at W. 156th Street
(212) 862-3680

The first Thursday of every month will feature a jazz performance by a member of the Hamilton Heights/Harlem community. The series, which began in March, 2008 has already presented Dave Bixler (sax) & Mel Greenwich (Billie Holiday song stylist). The next performance will take place on Thursday, May 1st @ 7:30pm, featuring Vea Williams (jazz vocalist). The admission fee is $15 (includes light refreshment), making this a very affordable evening of fine music.

 

Sugar Shack Cafe RIP
(212) 491-4422
2611 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
(West 139th and 8th Ave)
Call ahead to see if there is jazz at the Sugar Shack these days.  We hope so, cause it's a cool place to hang.

 

 

Sugar Hill Bistro   -- Check for current status before going, Now Called Baton Rouge
(aka Renaissance Jazz Lounge)
(212) 491-5505

458 W 145th St  (Amsterdam / Convent Avenues)

Dennis Jeter, vocals and Saul Rubin, guitar.  Dec. 2003Opened July 31, 2001

A new addition to Harlem's historic Sugar Hill neighborhood, this finely appointed restaurant/lounge features Jazz Friday and Saturday starting at 9:30 pm.  Look for Dennis Jeter to evoke Nat King Cole as he sings and swings on trumpet every Saturday and see Tenor sax titan Bill Saxton recently added on Friday nights.  A Gospel Brunch has been added for Sundays starting at noon. Jazz fans from around the world should stop in and support the Harlem jazz scene while in NYC.  The Sugar Hill Bistro also offers the best opportunity to see Wynton Marsalis sitting in unannounced, among other jazz luminaries.   Call ahead for schedule updates.  No cover charge.  Excellent menu features the best crab cake in Harlem.

Sylvia's
(212) 996-0660
328 Lenox Ave
(125th / 126th)
This world famous soul food restaurant also serves up a jazz brunch every Saturday with Lonnie Youngblood. Every Sunday is they have a historic Gospel brunch.  Music on weekends is from 12:30 - 4:00.  Please call for further details.

Temple M
555 W.141st street / (Broadway / Hamilton) / (917) 693 9686
Fabulously decked out converted house of worship with intriguing programming, excellent vibrations, best backyard around, great inexpensive one plate fits all meals, and the newest kid on the block.  Recommended.

Terrace In The Sky
(212) 666-9490
400 West 119th Street
(Amsterdam Ave / Morningside Drive)
Reservations suggested for guaranteed seating.  Sky Grille & Cash Bar. No Cover!
Live music 7:30PM - 9:30PM every other Tuesday.  Great looking venue with rooftop seating and jazz offered from time to time, mixed in with other styles of music.

Tian at the Riverbank (formerly The River Room and Earl Monroe's)
(212) 234-1023
679 Riverside Drive
(Riverside Drive & West 145th Street, Riverbank State Park)
The veteran Harlem Renaissance Jazz Orchestra perform from 8 till 11:30 on Thursdays for swing dancers and wall flowers alike.  There is a $10 cover charge and no minimum unless seated -- then a $20 minimum is expected.  This is the restaurant that has been known under many names in the past but maintains some of the best Hudson River to George Washington Bridge views around.  Outdoor seating on fine weather days and nights is priceless.  Tuesday night caters to salsa dancers via a dj.

Tribal Spears Gallery
(212) 666-6550
2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd.  (8th Ave.)
(116th / 117th)
Art gallery. Call ahead for current details on jazz policy.

Twenty-Two West  --Closed
RIP
(212) 862-7770
22 West 135th St
(5th / Lenox Ave.)
Catch 22 West in its historic state before it's gone -- as so many of the classic Harlem lounges have succumbed to changing tastes. This is the historic Malcolm X hang-out where his famous autobiography was related to author Alex Haley.  A casual restaurant adjacent to the lounge serves daily specials of Harlem soul food. R&B karaoke is still a Friday night tradition and proves to be the warmest room in town.  Call ahead for current status.

United House of Prayer for All People
(212) 864-8795
2320 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
(At 125th Street)
Sundays at 11AM and Tuesdays at 8PM.
Voted: Best Place To Hear Church Music With God, Unamplified-by The Village Voice in 2002 with the review: "If the Sun Ra Arkestra were the band at your church, wouldn't you go more often? The McCullough Sons of Thunder brass band at the UNITED HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE make an anarchic, joyful noise as they wander the aisles during the service. For the past few years, they've had to share a double bill with an upstart band of young'uns who the pastor won't allow to play outside the building. When the preaching's done, check out the cafeteria across from the chapel." -Josh Goldfein

Uptown Renaissance Restaurant
(212) 280-2224
108 West 116th Street
(Lennox / 7th Avenues)
This restaurant is experimenting with live music and starting with steel pan jazz on May 1st, 2005.  If you are in the neighborhood stop by to show your support.  Give them a call to find out what they have planned for live jazz in the future.

Urban Jem Guest House
RIP
(212) 831-6069
or 888-264-8811

2005 5th Ave.
(124th / 125th)
Jane, your hostess, has recently added a Sunday jazz recital to her beautiful bed and breakfast within an 1878 renovated brownstone townhouse.  Shows run from 4pm - 7pm on alternating Sundays.  Reservations are recommended and a $10 cover charge applies.  Refreshments are also included.

Wells Restaurant
Closed
2247 7th Ave
(132nd / 133rd)
Famous home of chicken and waffles and swing dancing

Windows Over Harlem Supper Club
(212) 665-4337 / 862-6341
165 W125th and 7th (Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.)
A dress to impress supper club on the 3rd floor of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building (one block from Bill Clinton's offices).  Call in advance for reservations, schedule and cover charge.  Dinner is served from 6pm to 9pm.

Zip Code Restaurant & Lounge
2207 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
(Bet. 130th & 131st Sts)
(212) 690-4400
No jazz policy currently.

Note: Frederick Douglass Blvd. = 8th Ave    Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. = 7th Ave    Lenox Ave. = Malcolm X Blvd. = 6th Ave    Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. = 125th St.
St. Nicholas Ave. =  from W.110th - 125th (Diagonally between Lenox and Manhattan Ave. )   St. Nicholas Ave. = On Sugar Hill  (East of Amsterdam/Convent)

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