A good party never comes too soon, especially when it’s the biggest bash of the year, New Year’s Eve.
This New Year, with the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States, will be the most significant in American history. So make those New Year’s resolutions and get ready to party like crazy. The following live jazz scenes will surely keeping you jumping in New York until the wee hours. Be sure to call for reservations.
The Lenox Lounge is one of the few remaining historical nightspots in Harlem. During the 1940s, the famous New York City columnists Walter Winchell and Dorothy Kilgallon were regulars, along with variety show host Ed Sullivan. In the 1950s, Billie Holiday spent many late nights hanging out there with her buddies James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. On New Year’s Eve, the joint will be jumping from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. with the Nathan Lucas Trio. From 1:00 a.m. until the rooster crows there will be dancing with the sounds of a live DJ. The admission for the evening is $75 per person and that includes hats, noise-makers, buffet and champagne toast at midnight.
Minton’s Playhouse served as the experimental percolator. It’s where jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and Thelonious Monk brought about the innovative, hip sound of bebop. Visit this historic jazz spot that will feature a live jazz band and DJ. The admission is $30 per person in advance — more at the door — will include party favors, food and champagne midnight toast. Performers for the evening were still to be announced at the time this issue of TNJ went to press. Call for an update.
If the sound of a swinging big band makes you all giddy, then the Jazz Standard is the place for you. The 14-piece Mingus Big Band will be raising the roof with such noted jazz musicians as trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonists Wayne Escoffery and Abraham Burton; trombone players Ku-umba Frank Lacy and Conrad Herwig; alto saxophonist Vincent Herring; baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian and pianist David Kikoski. The first set begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes a three-course Blue Smoke feast and gratuity on food for $125. The second set hits at 10:30 p.m. with a three-course Blue Smoke feast, champagne toast at midnight and gratuity for $195 per person.
The famous Blue Note jazz club in Manhattan’s West Village will feature trumpeter Chris Botti, with an opening act to be announced. The first set is 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Seating at the bar is $75 and $125 at tables. The second set is 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Seating at the bar is $95, at tables $175, and includes party favors, champagne toast and an à-la-carte menu. Seating at tables
is first-come, first-seated. Seating at the bar is limited and not guaranteed. There are no refunds and tickets must be pre-purchased. The Late Night Groove set hits at 1:00 a.m., featuring drummer Adam Deitch. The music charge at tables and the bar is $20.
The best New Year’s bargain in town will be at the historical St. Nick’s Pub located in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem (773 St. Nicholas Avenue at 149th Street). The party will be jumping from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. There is no music charge, only a drink minimum. Party favors will be given out. There will be a special guest band and vocalist, both to be announced. The groove of St. Nick’s Pub dates back to 1940, when it was Luckey’s Rendezvous (1940-54). Nightly jams included Art Tatum (house pianist), Sonny Rollins, who lived around the corner, and Charlie Parker.