THE VILLAGE VANGUARD Of New York's great jazz rooms, the Village Vanguard has the edge in terms of historical pedigree, sound, unique physical space, and ever-broadening booking policy, representing jazz across many generations and aesthetic viewpoints. The calendar is something: radical offerings from Henry Threadgill and John Zorn alongside great and underrated pianists George Cables, Kirk Lightsey, and Harold Mabern; young bandleaders of note such as Fabian Almazan and Rudy Royston next to established masters Fred Hersch, Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, and Dave Douglas.
The Vanguard Opened in 1935 under Max Gordon, who ran it until his death in 1989. (The 80th anniversary is soon upon us, with 91-year old Lorraine Gordon, Max's Widow, still at the helm.) Classic Live at the Village Vanguard albums abound - suffice it to say that examples by John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Bill Evans leap to mind. Now bands play for six nights straight, which means they're allowed to grow and evolve. There's a beauty in seeing saxophonist Ravi Coltrane invent and push ahead with his exraordinary quartet on the same bandstand where his father brought enduring glory to the Vanguard name back in '61.
Wonderful night and well organized, we had a great view quite close to the front. The sound was great and the waitresses were discreet but attentive. I would advise to arrive early to assure yourself of a good seat. We arrived 35 minutes before the performance and waited around 15 minutes before the doors opened. Over in we were seated quickly and were soon enjoying it drinks and some great music. Definitely going back.
Incredible jazz club! Great vibe. A NY institution with a rich history. Get there early for good seats. No videos or photos allowed. Which I though would be annoying but is actually kind of refreshing. We were able to really enjoy the show without the distraction of needing to capture it.
Kenneth J. Mcphaul, Jr.
The best jazz club in the world! I have visited Ronnie Scott's in London. I visit best in Oakland. Bakers in Detroit all of my great but this is the mecca of them all....
Jazz is defined by the talent of it's musicians and the Monday night orchestra here is well worth the price of admission. Extremely focused, and it rewards the attention you put into it. Stay off your phone, bring a date, and just try to lose yourself.
I grew up in this club before the age requirement with smoke filled rooms in the front seat watching my dad play avant-garde on the piano with thunderous drops of harmonic whirlwinds and improvisational sounds for all 3 sets....