New York City is home to a number of legendary jazz clubs and lounges that have seen the likes of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker revolutionize the genre. While these icons may no longer be with us, the clubs they once graced are still located all over the city.
Greats including Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Lionel Hampton and Sarah Vaughn have played at Showmans Jazz Club, which opened its doors in 1942. Since relocating to its current home in 1998, Showmans has welcomed musicians such as Nathan Lucas, Danny Mixon and Preacher Robins, who have dazzled on stage with the in-house Hammond B-3 organ. Keep in mind there’s a two-drink minimum per person, per set.
Patrons at Dizzy’s Club can enjoy phenomenal jazz sets and Southern-inspired food while taking in incredible views of New York City. The venue, which is situated on the fifth floor of the Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center, is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center – a non-profit venture launched by Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The building also houses two larger performance venues: The Appel Room and Rose Theater.
Founded in 1994 by Mitchell Borden, a former Navy submariner, registered nurse, philosopher and violinist, Smalls Jazz Club was designed to create an environment conducive to jazz music and its culture. The original club had its humble beginnings in a basement space with no liquor license. For $10, revelers could bring their own alcohol and stay as long as they liked. Since 2007, every show at Smalls has been recorded (with video starting in 2011), catalogued and archived. If patrons can’t make it to the club – which has a $20 cover charge for the entire evening from Sunday through Thursday – they can sign up to be members of SmallsLIVE to watch all live streams free of charge.
Michael LoRé contributed additional reporting to this article.