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Village Vanguard

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Long-time jazz club

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : West Village
Theater, Performance

Place Matters Profile

In February 2010, the Village Vanguard turned 75. It would be hard to find a jazz musician or fan anywhere in the world who does not know of or long to visit or play at this tiny club in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Vanguard occupies a triangular sliver of space on heavily trafficked Seventh Avenue South, next to a pizza parlor and below a nail salon. It has a big neon sign and a shabby awning. Inside, at the bottom of a precipitous, narrow flight of stairs there’s a low-ceilinged, wedge-shaped room with a stage at its tip. The walls are lined with photos of performers who played at the club and, to the right of the stage, there’s a mural with images of the awning, audience and artists. The mural has changed over time (the first depicted a rally in Union Square) but, consonant with the passions...

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Village Vanguard


Anonymous Nominator

Originally opened by Max Gordon in 1934 as a venue for poets, Gordon soon decided to add music to the club's presentations. Being refused a cabaret license, Gordon was forced to move the club to its current location, a basement at 178 Seventh Avenue. The venue offered many styles of jazz, popular music, folk music, dancing and cabaret acts. But it wasn't until the 1950s, that the Village Vanguard made its name as one of New York's main jazz venues. The most significant of the venue's events were John Coltrane's many performances there, which resulted in some of his finest recordings and carried the club's name in their titles.

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