Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time Lorraine Gordon/Barry Singer Hardcover; 288 pages ISBN: 0634073990 Hal Leonard 2006
For anyone who has never had the edifying experience of listening to Village Vanguard proprietress Lorraine Gordon recounting tales from the legendary room's storied history while seated majestically at her corner desk in the cellar club's office/kitchen/dressing room, this book will serve as an entertaining introduction to one's of jazz' truly unique personalities. Those who have been there will immediately recognize the tone of the witty woman who has made her mark in the music business that has long been dominated by men.
In this breezy autobiographical memoir, the grand dame of club owners details her days as a lifelong jazz fan whose love of the music led her to succeed her late husband Max as the guiding spirit behind the most famous jazz room in the world - the culmination of an already adventurous "life in and out of jazz . Gordon tells of her early years as a teenaged record collector so enamored with jazz that it led to her first affair, a brief relationship with a disc jockey who introduced her to Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion, her first true love. Gordon's recollections of her days working at the label with her first husband, particularly her warm memories of Thelonious Monk, are priceless.
While there may not be as many musical reminiscences from the Vanguard's golden age as inquisitive jazz scholars might hope for, the ones Gordon has chosen to share are thoroughly enjoyable. And the other aspects of her life - as a wife, mother, activist and generally liberated woman - are equally entertaining and educational. The book's fine photographs fashionably illustrate the tale of days well lived by a woman who is intelligent enough to know "that life is so beautiful when you're passionate about something and honest enough to tell the world that she knows "I am lucky.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.