Jazz at Lincoln Center

Neighborhood: West 60s
Type of Place: Jazz Clubs

All That Jazz

We all know that February is Black History Month and March is Women’s History Month. But what is April? Yes, T.S. Eliot called it the cruelest month (and he wasn’t even talking about the IRS); but, in fact, April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Which makes these next two weeks the perfect time to visit Jazz at Lincoln Center, which opened last fall on the fifth floor of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

Even if you’re not planning to attend a performance, you can stop into the Jazz Hall of Fame, where audio and visual displays allow you to learn about such great musicians as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Billie Holliday, or view the wall of photos in the main lobby. There are also numerous programs about jazz history at the Irene Diamond Educational Center.

But the best reason to go over is to listen to the country’s top musicians in JALC’s three extraordinary spaces. The largest venue is the 1,000-seat Frederick P. Rose Hall, which is extremely comfortable and acoustically perfect. On April 22-23, the great Marcus Roberts Trio will pair with up-and-comers Jason Moran and the Bandwagon. (Next month, Rose Hall plays host to Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra). The second main venue is the wonderful Allen Room, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that give audiences a gorgeous view of Central Park South.

But perhaps my favorite place at JALC is Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. A far cry from those stereotypically smoky jazz clubs, this is a luxurious-feeling, airy space, with great views of midtown Manhattan. You can sip a signature cocktail like the Lectric Lemonade or chow down on a fine variety of Southern-accented foods (fried chicken, gumbo), burgers, salads and luscious desserts. (I personally can vouch for the cornbread-berry pudding). And all of this won’t cost you an arm and leg – the cover is just $30 per set, minimums range from $5-10 (depending on whether you sit at a table or on bar stools), and most entrees on the menu fall in the $11-15 range.

And let’s not forget about the music. This week, Grammy Award winning jazz pianist Kenny Barron finishes up a three-week run, to be followed by the John Handy Legendary Monterey Quintet from April 26-May 1. Looking ahead, the fabulous Marian McPartland Trio will be in attendance from May 3-8. On Monday nights, Dizzy’s is home to Upstarts, in which college musicians get to jam out with professionals. (For those shows, a $15 cover charge applies).

So, show your appreciation for these wonderful musicians and head over to Jazz at Lincoln Center this month.
  - Brian Scott Lipton

Jazz at Lincoln Center
Broadway at 60th Street
New York, NY 10023