Village Vanguard

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Entrance to the Village Vanguard (1976)

The Village Vanguard (dt. Village vanguard ) is a Jazz -Club on Seventh Avenue (178 Seventh Avenue South) in the New York district of Greenwich Village .


Before the Village Vanguard (2009)

The Village Vanguard opened its doors on February 22, 1935. Founder Max Gordon opened the club in the basement of a wedge-shaped building on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Waverly Place. It was initially a stage for a wide variety of artists, including the folk musician Pete Seeger , whose band The Weavers found their first employment in the Vanguard, and the then unknown singer Harry Belafonte . In August 1949 Mary Lou Williams played the first jazz concert there; their group shared the stage with JC Heard's band . From 1957 the Vanguard became a pure jazz club. The artists of the Vanguard soon included musicians such as Thelonious Monk , Dizzy Gillespie , Miles Davis and Art Blakey .

While the clubs on 52nd Street or Birdland on Broadway closed their doors in the mid-1960s, the Vanguard remained a well-known jazz venue in New York. After Max Gordon died in 1989, his wife Lorraine took over the business and ran it until her death in June 2018. Since then, their daughter Deborah has taken over the club.

Significance in the jazz scene

John Webber , Joe Wilder and Lewis Nash in the Village Vanguard (2006)

A special feature of the Village Vanguard is its geometry. The building, like the club with its 123 seats, is wedge-shaped, with the stage in one of the corners of the room. This very special geometry makes the Vanguard one of the best places for jazz recordings, the " Carnegie Hall of jazz ". The musicians particularly appreciate the proximity to the audience at the Vanguard. John Coltrane said:

“I like the feeling of a club, especially one with an intimate atmosphere like the Vanguard. It's important to have that real contact with an audience because that's what we're trying to do - communicate. ”

In addition, the Vanguard is always run very restrictively by the owners as a jazz club in which the music is in the foreground. This is what it says on the club's homepage

“During performances, QUIET IS ENFORCED. We're a jazz club, not a chat room. "

The Village Vanguard is not only a performance opportunity, it was and is also used again and again for the production of live recordings. The Vanguard became known beyond the borders of the United States through numerous live recordings by artists such as Bill Evans and John Coltrane .

Recordings from the Village Vanguard

With the jazz labels, the lettering “ at the Village Vanguard ” is now a guarantee for good sales figures. It has now graced several dozen covers of recordings from all the major jazz labels , from Blue Note to Riverside to Impulse and Verve , the total number of recordings to date is around 150.

Maxine Sullivan in the Village Vanguard (1947)
Dexter Gordon and Benny Bailey in the Village Vanguard (1977)


  • Max Gordon: Live at the Village Vanguard . Da Capo, 1988. ISBN 0-306-80160-4
  • Lorraine Gordon: Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life in and Out of Jazz Time . Hal Leonard, 2006. ISBN 0-634-07399-0


  1. Jerry Tallmer: Legendary Vanguard on the eve of its anniversary. In: Downtown Express. March 4, 2005, accessed May 22, 2008 .
  2. See Linda Dahl Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams. Berkeley: University of California Press 1999, p. 211.
  3. ^ Lara Pellegrinell: A Room With A Life of Its Own: The Village Vanguard. (No longer available online.) In: America's Most Fascinating Jazz Clubs. January 1, 2000, archived from the original on May 14, 2011 ; Retrieved July 19, 2007 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. On the death of the jazz club owner Lorraine Gordon. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  5. ^ A b Ashley Kahn : After 70 Years, The Village Vanguard Is Still in the Jazz Swing. In: Wall Street Journal online. February 8, 2005, accessed July 19, 2007 .
  6. John Coltrane in the Liner Notes for Live at the Village Vanguard
  7. ^ Homepage of the Village Vanguard. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 24, 2007 ; Retrieved July 19, 2007 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Web links

Commons : Village Vanguard  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 40 ° 44 '9.6 "  N , 74 ° 0' 5.8"  W.