Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Village Vanguard Recordings: Being There

The Village Vanguard
Village Vanguard
The Village Vanguard (photo: John Abbott)
Max Gordon at the Village Vanguard, 1987
Lorraine Gordon at the Village Vanguard, 2003

It has been called “hallowed ground.” If “hallowed ground” seems over-the-top as a metaphor for a jazz joint, consider: 52nd Street faded long ago into the black and white photographs of history. The Blackhawk in San Francisco has been a parking lot for 40 years. The Lighthouse near Los Angeles has been dark since the ’70s. But the wedge-shaped cellar called the Village Vanguard has been below 178 Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village since 1935. Since the mid-’50s, when owner Max Gordon adopted an all-jazz policy, virtually every important jazz musician of the last half-century has played there.

Pianist Fred Hersch, in the liner notes to his recent Live at the Village Vanguard (Palmetto), called it “Quite simply, the greatest jazz club in the world.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published