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Big Apple Jazz Blog

billie holiday

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

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

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

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

The Billie Holiday Zone – Harlem Singers’ Series

Fridays will never be the same.  There’s no place like Harlem and there’s no other vocalist series like this one in the clandestine Gin Fizz – a speakeasy hidden in plain sight. Tickets in cooperation with AirBnB Concerts.  Singers Showcase   March 16, 2018 at Gin Fizz Boncellia Lewis with Shareef Clayton, trumpet Hilliard Greene,…

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March 7, 2018

Billie Holiday Kick

  Is Billie Holiday Street Next?   In the current climate of social and political upheaval and the potential for national soul searching, there is no better representative of America’s promise outpacing America’s flaws than Billie Holiday. I’m about to set off on a year-long Billie Holiday kick. Hopefully, the end result will be a street-naming in Lady Day’s honor. You can’t help loving Billie Holiday for her talent, courage, perseverance, individualism, good humor, and her unparalleled ability to make you feel things deeply when she sang. Let’s begin this in 1939… At 24 years of age she was cracking open the civil rights movement by delivering nightly riveting encores of Strange Fruit to packed houses at the proactively integrated Cafe Society in Greenwich Village. Where did that song come from and what was it about? The song is credited…

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November 20, 2017