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Big Apple Jazz Blog

NYC Jazz

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

Bill Saxton – Harlem’s Saxa Claus – Streaming Holiday Cheer

I met Bill Saxton at St. Nick’s Pub one Friday night in 1997 during one of his weekly gigs.  Over the years we have remained friendly, our lives intersecting significantly in the early 2000’s when we each opened a Harlem jazz spot within a few blocks of the other.   Bill’s Place, 148 West 133rd…

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December 23, 2020

Harlem Beat of the Streets

As the winter of 2020 sets in, Big Apple Jazz is offering private tours during the day with a “Harlem Beat of the Streets” theme.  After owning a Harlem jazz cafe, and decades of experience as a tour guide locally and internationally I am doing what feels best in the moment: a relaxed, comfortable walking…

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November 16, 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 Jazz Streets of NYC During Lockdown 2020 – A video document

During the months following the “stay at home” orders that kept New York City quieter than it had ever been, I ventured out briefly to see for myself what was happening on 125th Street, one of the busiest boulevards in Harlem.  My son, Eli, shot the video of poignantly empty sidewalks and shuttered retail shops…

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October 16, 2020

Meet Gordon Polatnick, Article by Jacqueline Bischof – 2008

Living the Jazz Life” by Jacqueline Bischof Autumn 2008 It’s 11.30 on a Friday night in early Fall, and Dennis Davis is standing outside St. Nick’s pub in Sugar Hill, one of Harlem’s oldest and most famous jazz establishments.  Tall and wiry, Davis is wearing a weathered, ankle – length leather coat. Standing under the…

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February 11, 2020

Resurrection of our old NYC Jazz Club Bible

Some of our long-time visitors, (we’ve been around since the turn of the century), have been missing our big list of NYC jazz clubs, and the content we used to include about each club. As it turns out this information was lingering somewhere in the dark web ready to be resurrected – so here it is.  Some of the information needs to be updated, so take it with a grain of salt, and do some further research regarding music policy, cover charges, set times, etc.   Please help us update this list with new intel: [email protected] I’ll spend some time each day making this a more useful place to look for current information, so feel free to bookmark this page for those times you are seeking an up-to-date jazz guide. There is also some great historical data.  Where you see…

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December 2, 2019

The Friday Billie Holiday Celebration Continues

Then on June 22nd, the triumphant return of Emily Braden and Tommy Campbell to the series – this time together!! Harlem Jazz Singers Showcase and Jam My Airbnb concert series continues tonight with Irene Blackman’s Band.  There are a few tickets left and they are good for both sets.  Dinners are available at Gin Fizz…

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June 8, 2018

We got Melanie Charles! June 5th at Zinc Bar – RUN don’t walk to catch this show.

Since February 2018, I have been producing jazz vocalist concerts in Harlem’s clandestine little sometimes club, Gin Fizz.  It’s the perfect hideaway for an intimate night of live music but it has limited space.  The shows have been very well received and our roster of killer performers such as Brianna Thomas, Emily Braden, Lynette Washington, Jenn Jade, Boncellia Lewis, Lucy Yeghiazaryan, and Seydurah Avecmoi have made this a Sell Out weeks in advance of the shows.  Not a bad problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.   The Zinc Bar in Greenwich Village has come to the rescue, offering more space and a great vibe and sound system.  Back in the heyday of modern jazz this space was called Cinderella’s and featured Billie Holiday and Thelonious Monk.   Now I am proud to keep the tradition going by offering great…

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May 15, 2018