Harlem has produced some of the world’s greatest jazz artists, composers, and innovations. The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival celebrates the neighborhood’s legendary jazz clubs and venues, including the Apollo Theater, Minton’s Playhouse, Lenox Lounge, Showman’s Jazz Club, and Small’s Paradise.
May 7 – 13, 2012, the festival will celebrate these historic venues and the music they fostered with a roster of programs featuring some of today’s top and emerging talents in Jazz. Festival tickets are only $10! (And some shows are free). Highlights of the festival include:
- Small’s Paradise Recreated: Harlem After Dark – the famous club personified Harlem nightlife in the Roaring Twenties with 1st-class musicians, elaborate floor shows, dancing waiters, and its ground-breaking integrated audiences. Jazzmobile will present a retrospective show with musicians, vocalists, poets, and a tap dance troupe performing works by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Langston Hughes. A late-night jam follows. May 7, 9pm Harlem USA, 2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
- Wycliffe Gordon’s Jazz A La Carte – the Apollo Theater opened in the 1930s with a variety show called “Jazz a la Carte,” featuring soloists, a Big Band, and “16 Gorgeous Hot Steppers.” Composer/performer Wycliffe Gordon recreate the classic show with soloists (including Savion Glover), the Julliard Jazz Orchestra, and the Apollo Dancers, presided over by master of ceremonies, Maurice Hines. May 12, 3pm & 8pm Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th St
- Tribute to Club Havana San Juan – during the 1960s, Havana San Juan gave birth to “classic Salsa” music and dance, and was a haven for Sammy Davis, Jr., Celia Cruz, Frank Sinatra, and Tito Puente. The new Havana San Juan Orchestra will revive the sounds of the “golden era” of Latin Music. May 12, 8pm & 10pm Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Ave.
Late Nights at the Festival:
- Minton’s Playhouse: Legends on the Bandstand – Minton’s was famous for jam sessions in the early 1940s, when Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie pioneered bebop. An all-star line-up will pay tribute to the club’s illustrious past in four innovative sets celebrating one of these legends. Performances are followed by late-night jam sessions at acclaimed restaurant, Red Rooster. May 9 – 12, 10pm Minton’s Playhouse, 206 West 118th St (between A.C. Powell Blvd and St. Nicholas Ave.)
- Showman’s Late Night Jazz – Showman’s was a hangout for many famous Apollo entertainers, and the intimate room remains one of Harlem’s premiere jazz clubs. May 8 – 12, the club will showcase some of the today’s hottest small combos. Sets at 10pm & 11:30pm. No cover, 2-drink minimum. 375 West 125th Street.
The Festival also presents films, and panels focused on Jazz and the Harlem venues. See their website for a calendar of events and performances.