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Live from New York, it’s jazz!

And the best seat in the house is your couch

Scott Haas
Live from New York, it’s jazz!
The Harlem Gospel Choir PHOTO: Simone Di Luca

Jazz is streaming from the best jazz clubs in New York City, and for the first time in history you can see and hear top musicians live at these venues from your living room. It’s always been expensive to go and stay in NYC. Now’s the time to sit back and experience the city without leaving Boston.

By watching jazz from your home, you also can support famous joints that are suffering and in danger economically: the Village Vanguard, Blue Note and Dizzy’s among them.

The iconic Village Vanguard sign PHOTO: Courtesy of Village Vanguard

The iconic Village Vanguard sign PHOTO: Courtesy of Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard, shuttered since the start of the pandemic, is streaming live concerts each month. For $10, you and yours can catch performances. The Vanguard also has an “on demand” solo series and again, $10 gets you “in the door.” Among the artists featured recently are drummer Marcus Gilmore, and guitarist and improviser Mary Halvorson.

“My father, Max Gordon, opened the Village Vanguard in 1935 and we are in the same location to this day,” Deborah Gordon, owner of the Vanguard, told the Banner. “On March 16, 2020, we closed the doors due to the pandemic and two months later, we were livestreaming shows from the club. Our little crew, who all are from the staff of the Vanguard, are creating streams that look and sound phenomenal. They have created great sound quality that I’m really proud of.”

She added, “We have no foreseeable date for reopening, and it’s been an educational process to explore this new medium.”

A pre-COVID full house enjoys a performance at the Village Vanguard in New York City. PHOTO Courtesy of Village Vanguard

A pre-COVID full house enjoys a performance at the Village Vanguard in New York City. PHOTO Courtesy of Village Vanguard

You may have seen what looks a lot like the Vanguard in Pixar’s new hit movie, “Soul,” about jazz musicians in New York City.

“Yeah, friends showed me that,” said Gordon. “It looks a lot like the club. I’m trying to consider it a compliment.”

Blue Note on Jan. 18 featured a livestream concert performance of the Harlem Gospel Choir at Sony Hall. (It runs through Jan. 25 as an archived performance.) February, March and April will feature more artists. Blue Note is “temporarily closed,” and while it has ambitions for reopening in February, that seems unlikely.

Both Blue Note and the Village Vanguard are renowned venues that for decades have been the settings for recordings by jazz greats, including John Coltrane, Christian McBride, Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Robert Glasper.

Also on the scene is Dizzy’s Club. Unlike the two downtown clubs, this venue is located at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s facility inside the Time Warner center in Columbus Circle, and offers stunning views of Central Park South in fancy surroundings. While it’s closed for in-person shows now, you can enjoy streaming performances for $10. Jan. 21 featured Jerron Paxton on banjo, piano and guitar in a show called “Blues and Black Folk Music.” The scene continues to be threatened by the pandemic. Already, in NYC, the venerable Jazz Standard is closed forever. Mexican-born Patricia Brennan played vibes there a lot, and she shared her thoughts about the closing with the Banner.

“The Jazz Standard was very good to us musicians,” Brennan said. “They would put out a whole spread of great food from Blue Smoke, the BBQ restaurant connected to them, and monetarily we were treated well, too. Nowadays, I teach jazz at NYU, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the New School, and while it’s great to have virtual students from all over the world, the energy and drive of live performances isn’t there.”

Give them a hand

NYC’s Birdland is struggling not to close permanently and has started a GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/f/save-birdland-the-jazz-corner-of-the-world. J Dizzy’s needs support, too. Donate at bit.ly/3oeGNtp. To support the Village Vanguard, see villagevanguard.com/recurring/donate. Meanwhile, Brennan offers private lessons and is promoting her debut album released this month. See more at www.patriciabrennanvibes.com/music.

Locally, Boston’s Scullers Jazz Club, closed since April 15, 2020, also has been featuring livestream performances. A suggested donation of $10 (or more if you like) gets you access. January featured Marcus Strickland, Noah Preminger and Jaleel Shaw, among others. Find information on upcoming shows at scullersjazz.com.

It may be that sometime soon, perhaps in 2021, we will be able to return to clubs to hear music. Until then, put on your slippers, pull up a chair, get your favorite beverage out of the fridge and head to NYC (or Scullers) to experience jazz performances from home.

Catch livestream and archival jazz concerts

Village Vanguard villagevanguard.com

Blue Note bluenotejazz.com/newyork

Dizzy’s Club jazzatlincolncenter.squarespace.com/dizzys-club

Scullers scullersjazz.com

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