My Google map of our forgotten jazz clubs here in the city (originally posted here) appears to have been rediscovered over the weekend, and I wanted to repost it here along with some of the informative comments I’ve received. I’ve added a few clubs with these comments in mind and would like to also thank Bill Crow, Steve Little, Billy Mintz, Taro Okamoto, Murray Wall and many other musicians that have helped me out with tips and anecdotes for this map. Speaking of anecdotes, I think I will start adding some to the map, stay tuned!
Tenorist Ted Brown had this to say on Facebook about the project:
“I noticed a couple things…(1) In 1976 there used to be a basement club on W. 86th Street called Strykers where Lee, Chet Baker and others worked. (2) When the Half Note closed one of the Cantarino Brothers (Sonny?) opened up a club on W. 54th Street called the Half Note but instead of jazz he catered to a lunch time crowd with strippers behind the bar, etc. until the Vice Squad threatened to close him down…suddenly he went back to a jazz policy so he called Lee to go back to jazz and I worked with him a few weekends. (3) Right across the street on W. 54th between 7th and 6th Ave. was Eddie Condon’s place where Mike Canterino was managing the bar…that was in 1977. (4) The Open Door in 1953 was near the east side of Washington Square Park. (5) In 1959 we lived near Broadway and 9th Street and I remember the Five Spot as being pretty close to Broadway around 4th Street…could be wrong.”
From Bill Crow:
“Did you know “Le Downbeat” on W 54th near 8th Ave? Barbara Carroll’s trio was the house group, and the other band would be someone like Stan Getz or Oscar Pettiford.”
And from the comments on the original post courtesy of John Biderman:
“As a native New Yorker, whose parents were die-hard jazz buffs, I got to experience the renaissance of clubs in the ’70s (helped along, I think, by George Wein moving his festival to the city). So, a few notes: Also in the Village was Nick’s at I think 10th St. and Greenwich Ave. but you’d need to confirm. Later on it became Your Father’s Mustache (wha???) which had a group of Dixie banjo players most nights but it was the venue where Red Balaban had his Sunday gig of “Balaban and Cats,” until he opened his own place, the *new* Eddie Condon’s on W 54 near 7th. Which brings to mind that that block hosted the new Condon’s, the new Jimmy Ryan’s (relocated from 52nd St. and the longest living of the clubs), and briefly the new Half Note relocated from the West Village. A couple of additions on the east side of University Place: The Knickerbocker at the corner of 9th (still there, of course), and The Cookery on the corner of 8th, founded by Barney Josephson of Cafe Society fame and host to a slew of excellent pianists and, eventually, vocalists, notably Helen Humes and Alberta Hunter.
“Thought of a couple more: Michael’s Pub at, if I recall correctly, 55th and 3rd, one of Gil Weist’s places. He also ran the Carnegie Tavern, which was at the 56th and 7th corner of the Carnegie Hall building, a showcase for Ellis Larkins and others (and perhaps the only room in town to boast an August Förster piano, brilliant-sounding). Oh, and Zinno’s, on 13th just west of 6th – had a small music room in the ’90s to early ’00s where some great players worked, e.g. Gene Bertoncini and Michael Moore, and the wonderful trio of John Bunch, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Jay Leonhart.
“Kelly’s Stable was another one on the old 52nd St. I have a 1947 issue of The New Yorker somewhere that I will try to dig up to see what others of that era were listed. There was a spacious room in the basement level of the Empire State Building for a time in the ’70s – I remember hearing Sy Oliver’s big band there – but I can’t remember the name; you entered on the southwest corner of 5th and 34th and walked downstairs.”
I am still looking into a few of these suggestions, and some have already been added to the map. Keep ’em coming! It’s fascinating hearing about these places. Also useful have been the old scanned copies of New York Magazine available online.
Here’s the map again: