A living legend, New York City’s Village Vanguard is an extremely intimate, triangular basement room that has served as a cornerstone of modern jazz since the mid-1950s.
Opened as a small underground club in New York‘s Greenwich Village in 1935, the Village Vanguard has been the center of the known jazz universe to an international circle of musicians and music fans for 70 years. In fact, it was in the ’50s that the Village became an ‘all-about-jazz’ venue. The club launched many celebrated careers, serving as ‘launching stage’ for many relatively unknown-at-the-time artists, such as Thelonious Monk (that is right, THAT Thelonious Monk).
Due to its increasing popularity, the Village Vanguard started hosting recording sessions: Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Pepper, Tommy Flanagan and Wynton Marsalis all recorded albums in the venue’s basement.
After years of sold-out performances and jazz celebrations, the Vanguard still going strong. The key to its success is probably the first-class acoustics, due to the place’s unique triangular basement. If to this we add a specific seats’ location, in which the audience is in the middle of the action, it is pretty obvious why the Village is considered a landmark in the world jazz club scene.
Several time has passed since its opening, but the venue is still enduring the status of THE jazz mecca, the legendary place where to play, record and experience some of the coolest live jazz around.
In the thrilling schedule of live performances that the club hosts every week, there are the Mondays with Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Established by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, the VJO has been the headlines of Monday nights since 1966.
The talk about the Village Vanguard, undoubtedly one of New York’s finests, could go on forever, but here is what you should remember. There is plenty of jazz clubs around the world, but only very few have the tradition, the success and an ‘all-about-jazz’ philosophy like the Vanguard. Go and experience its vibe, you will end up going there over and over again. Guaranteed!