Harlem’s history is filled with music, dance and theatre from the days of The Savoy Ballroom and The Cotton Club to the Apollo Theater. The music continues today, and here are just a few places you might enjoy. Some are well known and some will be a nice surprise. All were done in watercolor with music in the air.
For more then 40 years, Sam Hargress has owned and operated Paris Blues It sits on the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and 121st Street, and is a favorite for locals & tourists alike with Open Mic every Monday night, The Les Goodson Holy Ghost Voodoo Band on Wednesday nights, The Goddess Lakshmi on Sunday nights and lots more in between.
Bill’s Place styles itself after the speakeasies and jazz joints of the 1920s. This is an intimate club on the parlor floor of a brownstone on West 133rd Street and owned by Bill Saxton, a jazz saxophonist. Alcohol isn’t served but you can bring your own ‘brown bag’.
Red Rooster has created a musical treat in the downstairs Ginney’s Supper Club. It is one of Harlem‘s newest clubs but so beautifully mirrors the glamour of the Harlem Renaissance and has a strong musical lineup that changes nightly and even a Sunday Gospel Brunch! Ginney’s is a welcome addition to our numerous musical venues that also include The Apollo Theatre and Showman’s, both right around the corner on 125th Street.
It’s called The Post to those that frequent it and it’s probably Harlem’s best kept musical secret. The American Legion Post 398 is located at 248 West 132nd Street. Great music, reasonably priced drinks and food but limited seating so get there early.
One of my very favorites is Marjorie Eliot’s Parlor Jazz held every Sunday in her home near 160th Street. Musicians from all over come to play. Doors open promptly at 3:30 for the 4pm show and seating is limited. It’s free, with a donation jar by the door. And it is a real treat.
There are a lot more clubs yet to explore. These are only a few. Helping to keep it all alive is The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, dedicated to fostering the spirit of Jazz in our Community.