Village Vanguard, New York City

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  • Village Vanguard
    Village Vanguard
    by Tom_Fields
  • Sonny Rollins 1957
    Sonny Rollins 1957
    by davequ
  • jazz lovers
    jazz lovers
    by yooperprof
  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Village Vanguard: World's Most Famed Jazz Club

    by Tom_Fields Written Aug 3, 2012
    Village Vanguard

    Max Gordon founded this much-celebrated jazz club in 1935. Ever since, it's been in the same basement location in the West Village. With a seating capacity of 123, it retains the same intimate ambiance that it has always had.

    Since Gordon's death, his wife has managed the club. It has hosted nearly all of the famous modern jazz artists, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley, Art Pepper, Joe Lovano, and countless others. Barbara Streisand recorded a live show here that was broadcast on PBS. Their photos adorn the walls, but aside from that the decor is spare.

    The club has a limited selection of drinks, and no food. It's not a restaurant, just a plain old club. A must-see for any jazz buff, even if no one famous is appearing that night.

    Dress Code: Come as you are.

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  • davequ's Profile Photo

    Village Vanguard: Jazz in a historic Venue

    by davequ Updated Oct 1, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Outside of bldg is currently under reconstruction
    2 more images

    This was imo the real, "old school" stuff,
    not what I got uptown at Jazz Std, nor the laid back /cool stuff I heard at the Garage.

    Sound & sightlines are good in the as far as I know virtually unchanged triangular showroom that has hosted all the jazz greats for decades.
    The room sounded good when I was there.

    The first time I was a little worried the Vanguard was coasting on its legacy, name & reputation, and there were mucho tourists (suppose it depends on who's playing).

    Owner 80yr old Lorraine Gordon has kept the Vanguard running since her husband & original owner Max Gordon died, and still hangs out in the office / kitchen in the back, answering the phone and shaking hands with everyone as they leave after the show.

    Head down in the basement early to get your choice of seats, as it's more often than not full / sold out.
    Cover charge is usually $30.00 at the door - includes $20.00 admission + $10.00 drink minimum (usually translates into ~ 1 & 1/2 free drinks - be sure to tip your server), and Friday / Sat- $35.00. Still a small intimate place and in all fairness, with NY gentrified rents / taxes they probably need a solid cover just to keep the doors open (ask Lorraine the owner, it's none of my business ...)

    Warning: CASH ONLY. No credit cards accepted.

    Here is an interesting NPR sound clip with Lorraine about the Vanguards 70th anniversary:
    Lorraine and Vanguard 70th

    If you value jazz and especially jazz history as much as I do, I don't see how anyone could pass up going to the Vanguard at least once, if for no other reason than to pay homage to the living legends & ghosts who have left something behind here to share with everyone.

    ... Lorraine, you don't have to be a grouch, ... just tell me where the men's room is...

    Dress Code: Whatever is comfortable, I saw suits to jeans.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Music

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    Village Vanguard: Jazz Mecca Downtown

    by yooperprof Updated May 5, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    jazz lovers

    Got jazz? You bet they do at this historic jazz landmark downtown. Village Vanguard is one the world's jazz landmarks, attracting hepcats and their fans for three generations. They've been here since 1935! This cozy basement bar oozes jazz history, which you can see framed on the walls. Expect to pay for the privilege of becoming part of that history - cover charges of $15/$20 and somewhat limited drink menu. But this is so much more authentic than the Disneyfied jazz you might find at the brand new spot-clean "Club Coca-Cola" at Lincoln Center!

    In March 2006 I was here with friends Riff and Velma, seen pictured. We had the great experience of hearing the wonderful pianist Fred Hersch in a solo performance. It was the first time in the entire history of the Vanguard that a solo pianist was the headliner. Nothing can beat the intimacy of a club like this to really experience jazz.

    Note: when the performers are playing, this is not a talking bar. No cell phones, either. It's all about the music. Dig?

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    Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Jazz In The Village

    by tomhoward Written Apr 12, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This place (and other independent reviewers) touts itself as one of the best places to hear live jazz in New York. As well as visiting guests, every Monday night plays host to the house band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. As well as playing here for 30 odd years, they are Grammy nominated, so I expected the best of the best.

    Now what I know about jazz you could write on the back of a stamp, but I do know good, well performed music when I hear it, and this place just didn't hit the spot.

    Some of the "trumpet solos" (think it was a trumpet anyway - told you I didn't know jazz), were distinctly off key & beat. When the whole orchestra played together it got pretty impressive, but I really couldn't tell the difference from one formulaic number to the next.

    Venue was a smelly dive, although I suppose that creates the ambiance - the band leader even commented the place had flooded the night before in heavy rain. Wobbly tables and pillars blocking your view of the stage will only add to your misery.

    If you love jazz, you will no doubt fall in love with this place, so ignore my moans, but for me it was a disappointment.

    Drinks were fairly cheap - two are included in your $30 admission cover.

    Dress Code: It's jazz... you're meant to look dirty and unwashed.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Music
    • Theater Travel

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    ALL THE GOOD PLACES: TOP 50 JAZZ IN MANHATTAN

    by nygaston Updated Apr 28, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saxophone

    ** Blue Note
    131 West 3rd St, New York, NY
    The glitzy antithesis of the Village Vanguard gets powerhouse bookings--and respects the music.

    ** 55 Bar
    55 Christopher St, New York, NY
    Jazz gets cozy every night in this Prohibition-era

    Zinc Bar
    90 W Houston St, New York, NY
    A place where jazz enthusiasts--and those unenthused by the genre--can sit back, relax and enjoy the mood.

    *** Arthur's Tavern
    57 Grove St, New York, NY
    Snap your fingers for jazz and blues.
    Say HELLO to ERI Friday, Saturday at 7pm

    *** Smalls
    183 W 10th St, New York, NY
    Appropriately named, it satisfies mythic fantasies of what it means to be a Greenwich Village boho.

    * Village Vanguard
    178 7th Ave S, New York, NY
    This intimate, 63-year-old basement jazz shrine deserves to be designated an historical landmark.

    *** Kavehaz
    123 Mercer St, New York, NY
    A coffeehouse and bar with free jazz and seats for one and all.

    *** Jazz at the Cajun -- Cajun & Creole, Eclectic & International, Southern & Soul
    129 8th Ave, New York, NY
    Nightly live music and classic New Orleans fare bring the Dixie to Chelsea.

    *** Detour
    349 E 13th St, New York, NY
    One of New York's biggest bargains: no-cover jazz and low-priced drinks.

    Knitting Factory - Old Office
    74 Leonard St., New York, NY
    The Knit's Old Office gets down and dirty in the business of jazz.

    Knitting Factory - KnitActive Sound Stage
    74 Leonard St, New York, NY
    A small space that sometimes packs in big sounds.

    Tonic
    107 Norfolk St, New York, NY
    A downtown musical mecca graced with a cozy main space and a downstairs lounge.

    Jazz Standard
    116 E 27th St, New York, NY
    Ditch the boho grit and nab straight-ahead bop in refurbished style.

    Coda
    34 E 34th St, New York, NY
    A spacious, lively music lounge makes for a near-miracle on 34th Street. close to ESB

    CAJUN ***
    129 8th avenue - 16th
    Tel 212 691-6174

    Dress Code: Scotland Yard
    72 Hudson St, Hoboken, NJ
    Looks English, sounds American: This veddy British pub features a shot of live blues.

    * Birdland
    315 W 44th St, New York, NY
    Cavernous for a jazz club and relocated from Harlem, but comfort, great acoustics and eclectic booking make up for it.

    * Iridium Jazz Club
    1650 Broadway, New York, NY
    Straight-ahead jazz returns to midtown.

    ** Carnegie Club
    156 W 56th St, New York, NY
    Guys and dolls meet the post-symphony set at this swank jazz club. 2.6
    miles
    8.0

    Black Betty
    366 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY
    Yummy food, but an even yummier clientele.


    Sugar Bar -- Caribbean, Latin American, South American
    254 W 72nd St, New York, NY
    A star-powered jazz and jerk joint on the Upper West Side.

    B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
    Voted Best Live Music Club in NYC!

    Iridium Jazz Club
    Excellent live jazz, 2 sets, 7 nights. Les Paul

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  • Nathalie_B's Profile Photo

    The Vilage Vanguard: For Jazz lovers

    by Nathalie_B Written Jan 5, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Village Vanguard

    Thanks to my friend, who was visiting me in New York, I got some knowledge about Jazz music. During one week, we were in 5 different clubs, and believe it or not, I enjoyed every moment. At The Village Vanguard we had pleasure to listen to Cedar Walton Quartet.

    Dress Code: There is no special dress code. Doors open at 8:00pm. Sets begin at 9:00pm and 11:00pm nightly. Generally there is an additional 12:30am set on Saturday and occasionally on Friday as well. It's best to call the club for confirmation of a third set.
    Sunday through Thursday: $25.00 at the door (includes $15.00 admission plus a $10.00 drink minimum). On Friday and Saturday: $30.00 at the door (includes $20.00 admission plus a $10.00 drink minimum). Admission may increase slightly depending upon the artist. Drinks range in price from $4.00 to $8.00. Credit cards are NOT accepted, cash or traveler's checks with a valid passport (a copy is okay) or US driver's license only.

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  • Village Vanguard: Village Vanguard

    by GeorgieB Written Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Great jazz players perform regularly in this historic club. The acoustics and the atmosphere are perfect. Call ahead for reservations for the more popular performers. Their schedule is on the net. The cover charge is inexpensive for the caliber of musicians who play here. I saw Wynton Marsalis in January, 2000, for $20.

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