I have coupled many a Sunday night at the American Legion Post with a Sunday afternoon visit to Marjorie Eliot’s Parlour Jazz recital. I walk from her place — it’s about a mile and a half, mostly downhill and mostly beneath old shade trees lining the embankment that edges Edgecombe Avenue. It’s a ridge that creates Sugar Hill.
At the American Post I get to hear jazz played the old-fashioned way, — the environment of Harlem in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. In a row of brownstones on 132nd Street, down a few steps to the ground floor, is where musicians and jazzers from Harlem, and tourists from all over the world gather.
Dinner is available. All dishes are about $10, served on plastic plates with plastic ‘cutlery’. Vegetables include potato salad, collard greens, and rice; entrées are fried chicken, pork or whiting (fish).
I try to arrive around 6, so that I can sit at the bar, maybe have a piece of chicken.
You must sign in (because it is an American Legion Post) but admission is free. Donations accepted and a coffee can is passed around to accept them.
The nearest train station is 135 Street on the A or C Train (Blue).
The house band — the Harlem Groove Band — was created by Seleno Clarke, a legend on the Hammond B3.
He died just after Christmas 2017 at 88 years of age. His death is a saddening loss to the Harlem Jazz scene. I attended his memorial concert.
Rest in peace.
The club presses onward.