Virtual Book Talk: Sittin’ In – NYC Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 50s

Sittin In Book coverPhotographs from Sittin In of BirdlandPhotographs from Sittin InPhotographs from Sittin InPhotographs from Sittin In

Join author Jeff Gold for a virtual book talk full of images and insights from his new book Sittin' In. Sittin In tells the little-known story of America’s jazz clubs of the 1940s and 1950s. In exclusive interviews, iconic musicians Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones and preeminent jazz historian Dan Morgenstern give first-person accounts of the clubs Rollins called “a paradisiacal place to be.”

Decades before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, jazz clubs were among the first places in Jim Crow America where Black and white people mixed, in audiences and onstage. Rollins noted, “Jazz was really where the racial barriers were broken down heavily,” and Jones explained “Back then, it wasn’t about color in the clubs, it was about how good you can play. Racism would’ve been over in the 1950s if they’d listened to the jazz guys.”

In additional interviews, musician, MacArthur Fellow and Kennedy Center creative director Jason Moran, and Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan explore the music, history, culture and abundant style of the era.

Separate sections survey the jazz histories and clubs of New York City, Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The book’s 200+ images include never-before-seen club souvenir photographs, some featuring fans posing with legendary musicians such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong – and even one photo showing clubgoer Marlon Brando with fans at New York’s Birdland.


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All photographs Courtesy of Jeff Gold