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Birdland is a New York City jazz club that first opened in December 1949. The original location was at 1678 Broadway, which is in Manhattan, slightly north of West 52nd Street. However, this club was closed due to increasing rent costs in 1965 but reopened for only one night in 1979. A revival began in the late 1980s, as a second nightclub using the name was opened in what’s now known as Manhattan’s Theater District.
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Charlie Parker, or as his friends and family know him, “Bird”, was the inspiration and headliner for the Birdland Club. Soon after the 52nd Street scene caved, Birdland was created and gained notoriety over the following fifteen years, as they were home to double and triple bills that would begin around 9 pm and sometimes last until dawn.
Birdland was home to Charlie Parker and other jazz legends such as Count Basie, who made the club his headquarters. In fact, “Lullaby of Birdland” by George Shearing was recorded there, as was John Coltrane’s “Live at Birdland.”
During their first five years of business, some 1,400,000 patrons paid the $1.50 admission fee to enter the club and hear legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Lester Young, among many others. Seeing as how Birdland created such a buzz, there’s no surprise the club also attracted many celebrities such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Gary Cooper, Joe Louis, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., and Marlene Dietrich.
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Over the years, Birdland has called several locations home. One such location was 2745 Broadway, where it was very popular for its unique setup and excellent acoustics. At this club, over 2,000 emerging artists performed over the course of 10 years, but the owner couldn’t help but feel as if something was missing. Ultimately, he made the decision to move the club back to its original home – Midtown.
Today, Birdland can be found in Midtown Manhattan and features top-flight jazz, excellent acoustics and sightlines, and an award-winning dinner menu that offers American cuisine with a Cajun kick.
My tip: check out this amazing Jazz Private Walking Tour 👇
01 Louis Armstrong and Jazz Private Walking Tour
This is a really great guided tour for all jazz fans who want to learn more about the life of the famous Louis Armstrong and his work in New York. You’ll start at Jazz At Lincoln Center and see major venues and jazz clubs on the tour. As an option, you can attend a jazz concert in the evening!
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