Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is the crown jewel club of the jazz capital of the world: New York City. It is a must-visit for tourists and regulars, both audiences and musicians. To play at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is a musician’s dream come true and a feather in his or her cap.
With its breathtaking views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, it brings you into the heart of this great city. The kinetic energy is overwhelming, and the groove is infectious. Combine the view, the food, the staff, the music, and, most importantly, the great jazz fans—and you have combustible energy of the swingin’-est kind!
June kicked off in the club as part of the Thelonious Monk Festival, taking place in all three venues at Jazz at Lincoln Center, including The Appel Room and Rose Theater. What better way to start? (Monk lived around the corner from Columbus Circle back in the day.) At Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the festival started June 1 with Light Blue: Gabe Schnider & Friends Celebrate Monk; June 2–4 saw Monk’s Dream: Russell Hall Plays Monk, featuring Ruben Fox, Mathis Picard, Kyle Poole, and Joel Ross; the Chico Freeman Plus-tet appeared June 7–8; and the great U.S.V.I. drummer Dion Parson took the stage June 9–11.
The energetic, charismatic, complete entertainer guitarist/vocalist Allan Harris leads his band on June 14–15. Harris smiles, “I have found in my many years of performing in clubs, festivals, and concert halls that Dizzy’s is one of the few venues that caters exclusively to an audience with a palate for America’s art form, jazz, at such a high level.”
June 16–18, a living legend takes to the piano onstage at Dizzy’s: the one and only Barry Harris. The pianist, composer, and teacher has been in the jazz forefront for decades and received an Honorary Doctorate from Northwestern University, the Living Jazz Legacy award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Organization, and an American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. For the past several decades, Dr. Harris has been leading the jazz style that was developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and Coleman Hawkins. Don’t miss this exciting, educational, and hard-swinging time with the Barry Harris Trio.
Another June highlight includes one of jazz’s greatest vocalists on the scene today: Kurt Elling. He is joined by his Quintet on June 23–24. Elling, who appeared this past January in Rose Theater with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, now comes to you in the intimate setting of the 140-seat Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Elling has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association on eight occasions. An international jazz award winner, he has also been nominated for Grammy Awards a dozen times. It will be a memorable evening for all.
June 25 offers the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Jazz Orchestra. On June 26 we are honored with the Band Director Academy Faculty Band, and June 27–28 is the Black Arts Jazz Collective. Closing out the month on June 29–July 2 is the hard-swingin’ Willie Jones III Quintet.
The mighty Monty Alexander Harlem Kingston Express roars in July 12–July 16. July 18–20 presents the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Celebration, and then in swings the Jon Faddis Quartet July 21–23. July 25 promises a special evening with Akua Allrich’s Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba tribute with her band The Tribe. Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life band entertains on July 26, and the great singer Catherine Russell sweetens things up July 27–30.
July 31 closes out the month with a Monday Nights with WBGO performance: Celebrating Nat King Cole with Sachal Vasandani & Friends. Get the lowdown on the rest of the August hot summer lineup at jazz.org/dizzys.
Dizzy’s General Manager Roland Chassagne sums it up best: "Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola is having one of its best years yet. With great, eclectic programming and food, the vibe continues to stay friendly, cool, and elegant. Since opening in October 2004, Dizzy’s continues to entertain, enrich, and expand a global community of jazz on a nightly basis, as well as successfully contributing to the process of musical, cultural, and social exchange and collaboration. We look forward to a great summer at Dizzy's, welcoming all people to the best jazz club in the jazz capital of the world."
Scott H. Thompson is an internationally published jazz writer