NPR's signature New Year's Eve jazz and blues party ushered in the new year with the highest-fidelity 'live' radio broadcast in history. From dusk until dawn, from clubs on the Champs Elysees to the San Francisco Bay to Manhattan's hot, new jazz club with a view - Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola - NPR (National Public Radio) brought the home theater experience to the radio dial for the very first time. The 13-hour broadcast was a co-production between WBGO/Newark, NJ and NPR.
How did you celebrate New Year's Eve? When are you heading over to New York City's new, hot-spot? Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola opened its doors on Broadway at 60th Street on October 18th, 2004 as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Grand Opening. Located on the 5th floor of Frederick P. Rose Hall, the club has been called "the anchor of Jazz at Lincoln Center's new home."
A quick look at the lineup shows it has solidly arrived on the jazz club scene: Joey DeFranceso and David "Fathead" Newman (Nov. 30-Dec. 5), Gonzalo Rublacaba and the New Cuban Quartet (Dec. 7-12), Marcus Roberts Trio (Dec. 14-19), Holiday Jazz with Cyrus Chestnut and Donald Harrison (Dec. 21-26), New Year's Celebration with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio with Frank Morgan and Marcus Printup (Dec. 28-Jan. 2, 2005), Eric Reed Trio featuring Buster Williams and Al Foster (Jan. 4-9), Eric Reed Happiness Sextet (Jan. 11-16), Mulgrew Miller Trio with Gary Bartz (Jan. 18-23), and Stefon Harris and Blackout (Jan. 25-30).
Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis and Artistic Administrator Todd Barkan play a major role in putting the puzzle together. You'll be greeted at the door by Todd, Manager Tom Dillon or Assistant Manager Roland Chassagne. Come on in and have a seat at a comfortable table overlooking Columbus Circle, Central Park and the breathtaking Manhattan skyline. Sample the delicious menu by culinary creators Great Performances and Spoonbread, Inc. The fare is fair. The food, fantastic. The music, good ol' swingin' jazz, trios, quartets, sextets, it comes in all shapes and sizes for all tastes'365 nights a year.
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola has taken form, from an empty shell to a real, living, breathing project that continues to make the world safe for bebop. The line of top-shelf talent that comes through its doors at all hours, the wait staff busy at their work, the piano tuner three times a week, the crowds, the celebs'its truly a pleasure to watch it grow.
Linda Ronstadt came to Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola for her new jazz CD ("Hummin' to Myself" - Verve) launch performance in December. From the stage, midway through her set, she said "This is one of the best sounding clubs I've ever sung in." The musicians love the club. Trumpeter Chris Botti was interviewed in Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola for the primetime NBC news special Extra!
And the celebrities continue to trickle in. Here's a sample of who's come through: Clint Eastwood, Kevin Spacey, Harry Connick Jr. (sat in), Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci, Pauley Walnuts (aka Tony Sirico from The Sopranos ), Tony Danza, Cicely Tyson, Courtney Vance, Angela Bassett, Glenn Close, Morgan Freeman, Robin Williams, Phil Ramone, Peter Cincotti, Jimmy Smits, Dave Warfield, Rick Moranis, Taj Mahal, Ray Barretto (and his son), Reverend Al Sharpton, Clark Terry and Wynton Marsalis, to name a few.
On Thanksgiving morning, a few minutes after midnight, Stevie Wonder dropped in and played (on harmonica) and sang a very plaintive version of Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun." He was accompanied by pianist John DiMartino, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, tenor saxophonists Bob Kindred and Eric Alexander, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth, and the band launced into a hard-swinging version of Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues." You never know who's going to show up.
Another reason to check it out, is the Monday night UPSTARTS! Program, which features college music students performing with a professional rhythm section. Drummer Ali Jackson serves as Music Director. (Students, check out the special rates for you.) Look for the Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Big Band Monday, Feb. 21st, the Queens College Jazz Ensemble/Ali Jackson Trio on March 14th and the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Band and Jam Session with Bobby Sanabria Y Quarteto Ach' on March 28th.
Plus, Tuesday through Saturday, stay up late and hang for the AFTER HOURS sets. Piano legend John Hicks has made many of these. Seleno Clarke & the Harlem Groove Band entertained AFTER HOURS, as did trombonist and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra alumnus Wycliffe Gordon and bassist Jay Leonhart. And the jam goes until the wee hours of the morning.
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