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Big Apple Jazz Blog

Articles by Gordon Polatnick

Still Life: NYC Jazz Clubs – COVID – Survival Score Card

     As we head into the 9th month of pandemic deprivation, we are not confident that jazz life will ever resemble pre-COVID status.   All music venues struggle against all odds to remain in business during this extended lockdown.        Performers and performance venues were likely hit the hardest as precautionary health…

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December 29, 2020

The Church of Saint John Coltrane – A Blast from the Past

The Jazz Church by Gordon Polatnick Originally published in the Haight Ashbury Free Press circa 1995  Sometimes I think I’m the only one who understands what true religion is.   It’s that cozy state of mind where nothing is more apparent than the unassailable fact that each of us belongs here on Earth, and is deeply…

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December 23, 2020

WSJ – The Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem

     If you’re a hopeless romantic pining for a sepia toned, 100 year ago version of New York City you will marvel at how well-preserved Harlem still appears to be.  If coming from the laughably tall and thin sky-scraper race to the clouds on 57th Street, it’s strangely comforting to note that the buildings…

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November 12, 2020

Live Jazz In Harlem Clubs during COVID-19 in Autumn 2020

Everyone is asking the same question and dealing with the same conundrum: Is indoor jazz clubbing out of the question during COVID in NYC, and if not, how does it work?  New York got hit so hard at the start of Covid that the lockdown period was followed by a very prudent and organized phased…

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October 26, 2020

The Harlem Jazz Scene – a retrospective on the day after St. Nick’s Pub fire

Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet at St Nick’s Pub at the turn of the century. photo credit Gordon Polatnick We woke up to the devastating news of a deadly fire last night in Harlem on the set of a Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Mann movie called Motherless Brooklyn.  With that kind…

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March 23, 2018

Cheap NYC Jazz Clubs

New York City: Affordable Live Jazz Clubs In Manhattan (Where you can hear the greats from Greenwich Village to Harlem) By Gordon Polatnick I started Big Apple Jazz Tours with the understanding that jazz is at its best when musicians and audiences are sharing an intimate, interactive experience that feels like it could go on forever, and that something unexpected is bound to happen.  There are wonderful, famous Manhattan clubs like the Village Vanguard, Birdland, Blue Note, Dizzy’s, Iridium, Jazz Standard, and Smoke, which regularly present legendary performers in intimate settings but must clear the house between sets – stifling the spontaneity to some extent.  These are great venues but they don’t tell the whole story.  Jazz fans in New York have become used to plenty of options that you may not be aware of yet. New York has been home to the majority of legendary jazz…

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June 22, 2017

Harlem’s Tree of Hope

Hi, folks, this is Gordon Polatnick, of Big Apple Jazz Tours.  There are a few things that I’m inexplicably geeky about that I want to explore in this blog.  Most are jazz related, and most of the jazz relates to jazz history as it relates to people and places rather than notes, chords, harmonies, and time…

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June 13, 2017