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Philly Jazz Club Zanzibar Blue to Close

After a decade at its location between Broad and Walnut Streets, one of Philly’s most-esteemed jazz clubs will permanently close its doors on April 29.

Zanzibar Blue has attracted top national acts over the years-Nancy Wilson, Jimmy Scott, Shirley Horn, Chuck Mangione, Lou Rawls, Chick Corea and Ahmad Jamal have all played at the Philly jazz club.

Following its first six years at a different, storefront location, Zanzibar moved to the Bellevue in 1996. With the upscale jazz joint in town closing down, it becomes unclear where nationally billed jazz artists will play in the City of Brotherly Love.

Zanzibar owner Robert Bynum, who owns the club with brother Benjamin Jr., told the Philadelphia Inquirer the lease was about to expire on Zanzibar, and would double if renewed. The brothers also own another Philly jazz club, Warmdaddy’s, which moved last fall to a new spot in South Philadelphia.

The club, as it boasts on its Web site, offers live jazz seven nights a week, as well as a Sunday brunch performance, often without a cover charge. Pianist Alex Bugnon and vocalist Melissa Walker (featuring Christian McBride and other guest performers) will play the club during its last week. Tony Grandberry will perform at the final jazz brunch and the Webb Thomas Project with Michelle Beckman will play closing night on April 29.

Photo by Greg Gianforcaro

Originally Published