From Minton’s website:
“Founded in 1938, Minton’s is the place where Bebop was born; the place, really, where the foundations of modern jazz were established.”
“Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and Kenny Clarke were regular performers there. In addition, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRea, Billy Eckstine, Erroll Garner, Gene Krupa, Miles Davis, Art Tatum, Bill Evans and Art Blakey, to name just some of the giants, all played at Minton’s.”
Need I write more?
Minton’s is the kind of place you go to because you can. You’re in New York, Minton’s is in New York, so you go. Dress well (please don’t wear your baseball cap, frontward or backward), have dinner, listen, talk quietly, drink and be thankful.
I’ve never eaten there, but you can view the menu here.
Other historic clubs still have a presence: next door to The Apollo, on 125th Street, used to be Showman’s, now moved to 375 W 125th St. Minton’s has survived at least one move. Lenox Lounge was demolished in 2017. It’s where Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday performed.
You can experience the feel of old Harlem jazz clubs by visiting the American Legion on 132nd Street. It’s the real thing and may become stronger even though Seleno Clarke, the leader of the Harlem Groove Band (the house band), died just after Christmas, 2017, 88 years old.