Jazz Guide NYC (2nd Edition)
Paperback; 176 pages
ISBN: 189214543X Little Bookroom
A good pre-stocking stuffer for both those remotely interested in catching live jazz in New York and expert NYC jazz goers alike. Steve Dollar's well-written club descriptions are sorted by neighborhood, for better or worse, sometimes spending more time on the surrounding environs than the actual venues (e.g. 5C Café and Lenox Lounge). Space could have been better utilized for pictures (something the book lacks and certainly would benefit from, as would any guide book) as half to full pages of blankness often follow minimal descriptions of second- and third-tier clubs. In the case of Fat Cat, Louis 649, Enzo's Jazz and Cleopatra's Needle some names of regular performers could have easily filled out this space.
Dollar - obviously a frequent visitor to the places he's included in this 2nd edition - wisely sets aside space for the essential stop-offs all jazz-loving visitors (and NYC natives alike) should be aware of, including two of our greatest indie record/CD stores for jazz and improvisational music: Downtown Music Gallery and Jazz Record Center.
However, in addition to nearly a dozen quickly caught typos marring this edition ("Adderly , "Pastorious ), questionable "jazz venues are included (SOBs, Arturo's, Mo' Pitkins, Cutting Room, Triad) in place of some blatant omissions (Bar Next Door, Perk's, Rubin Museum's "Harlem in the Himalayas Friday series and if Zankel Hall is included why not Merkin Hall?). The guide's convenient size and travel-friendly format does lend itself to the back pocket and certainly the annual updates are essential to incorporate the always changing landscape of opening, and more often closing, venues (seemingly accelerated these days) in which to hear live jazz. On that note, since this edition was published, farewells go to: Detour, Tonic and one-time vocalist hang Chez Suzette.