It was jazz, Birdland, the BeBop era. Cast your mind back to the 1950’s and Birdland Jazz Club, the shrine of bebop, at 1678 Broadway just north of West 52nd Street.
Who was there?
Jazzmen and women included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Art Tatum, Sarah Vaughan, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Lester Young, George Shearing, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Slim Gaillard and Tito Puente. The 400 seat club was filled with fashionable celebrity clientele such as Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, Joe Louis, and Judy Garland.
Within the Club’s first 5 years it entertained almost one and half million jazz listeners at $1.50 per person admission.
Do you remember the lyrics?
Lullaby of birdland whisper low
Kiss me sweet, and we’ll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because we’re in love
In the play Send Me No Flowers, George Kimball relates a story about a female friend who ran off with a “bongo player from Birdland” after her husband died. The bongo player subsequently “took her for every cent”.
Give this card for a birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, for a happy announcement such a new baby, new home, new job, or engagement. Give it for graduation, friendship, Bon Voyage, reunion, any festive occasion. A stylish gift for your beloved, for parents, family and friends. Especially if they remember the Savoy, the Cotton Club, and the Palladium, which was just one block up Broadway.
- I love you, and all that jazz.
- You’re ALTO this world.
- You’re older, wiser, and cooler.
- You’re too saxy for this card.
- Have a cooool birthday.
- Have a jazzy Father’s Day.
- We’re in it for the SAX.
- Slide to play.
- Bad to the bone.
- Mine’s longer.
- Weapons of brass destruction.
- We’re always in treble!
- See the girl with the red dress on, She can do the Birdland all night long. ~Ray Charles
- Birdland on 53, the streets sounds like a symphony. ~U2
- Never look at the trombones, you’ll only encourage them. ~Richard Strauss
- Life is a lot like jazz: it’s best when you improvise. ~George Gershwin
- Jazz stands for freedom. ~Dave Brubeck
- The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness. ~Herbie Hancock
Irving Levy, Morris Levy and Oscar Goodstein and six other partners purchased a jazz club venue in New York City in 1949 from Joseph “Joe the Wop” Catalano. They adopted the name “Birdland” to capitalize on the popularity of their regular headliner Charlie “Yardbird” Parker.
The club was originally scheduled to open on September 8, 1949, but this was put back to December 15 following difficulties in getting a liquor license. The opening night was “A Journey Through Jazz”, consisting of various styles of the music up to that point, played by Maxie Kaminsky, Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Harry Belefonte, Stan Getz and Lennie Tristano.
Birdland had a master of ceremonies named Pee Wee Marquette who was under four feet tall and was notorious for mispronouncing the names of musicians that didn’t tip him. One night Horace Silver refused to tip Pee Wee, so he introduced him as Hore Ass Silber.
See also Mozart at Piano.
Give this card for a birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, new baby, new home, new job, or engagement. Give it for graduation, friendship, Bon Voyage, reunion, any festive occasion. A stylish gift for your beloved, for parents, family and friends. Especially if they remember Jazz on Broadway, Birdland, the Savoy, the Cotton Club, and the Palladium.