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Herbie’s World: Herbie Hancock and Friends at JVC

The Bad Plus

In a special Carnegie Hall concert honoring Village Vanguard proprietor Lorraine Gordon, who at 83 is one of the most provocative and unapologetically outspoken octogenarians on the jazz scene, emcee Jeff Levenson waxed poetic about the little wedge-shaped subterranean room founded by Max Gordon in 1935 as a haven for poets, writers, folk singers, jazz artists and assorted hipsets. “You go down those 15 steps, leaving the wackiness of the real world behind, and you enter some dreamy alternative realm,” Levenson told the audience in summarizing his 25 years of attending gigs at this hallowed space. “It’s like that Technicolor moment in The Wizard of Oz where everything looks different and you sense that you belong,” he continued. “It’s a place where you’re afforded this different kind of reality, it’s a remarkable gift bequeathed by Max and Lorraine. They’ve created a place for guys like me to believe, to dream. And when you descend those 15 steps, you realize that you’re home.”

After Max died in 1989, his widow Lorraine maintained the spirit and character of the world’s most renowned jazz club while putting her own stamp on the venue with pet bookings like The Bad Plus, the Bill Frisell Trio, Roy Hargrove (pictured) and Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band.

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