BIRDLAND HOPES — (via Broadwayworld.com) Yet another one of New York’s most beloved venues is in danger of closing for good. Birdland Jazz Club, a staple of the New York City jazz community since 1949, needs help with the debt it has found itself in due to the health crisis.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched by Tom D’Angora, who also spearheaded the efforts to save the West Bank Cafe in December 2020.
“Shortly after the community pulled off the West Bank miracle, my longtime friends, Jim Caruso and Susie Mosher, reached out and let me know that Birdland, was also in danger of closing its doors for good in just a few weeks if something isn’t done,” D’Angora wrote in the campaign’s description.
At press time, the campaign has raised over $16,000. To learn more or to donate, click here. https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-birdland-the-jazz-corner-of-the-world?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheetgofundme.com/f/save-birdland-the-jazz-corner-of-the-world
Birdland is a jazz club started in New York City on December 15, 1949. The original Birdland, which was located at 1678 Broadway, just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan, was closed in 1965 due to increased rents, but it re-opened for one night in 1979. A revival began in 1986 with the opening of the second nightclub by the same name that is now located in Manhattan’s Theater District, not far from the original nightclub’s location. The current location is in the same building as the previous headquarters of The New York Observer.
The club has hosted memorable sets by such musicians as Oscar Peterson, Pat Metheny, Diana Krall, Roy Haynes, Michel Legrand, Dave Brubeck, Pat Martino, Tony Williams, Hank Jones, Michel Petrucciani, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Marian McPartland, John Pizzarelli, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks, George Shearing, James Moody, Yellowjackets, John Scofield, Phoebe Snow, Dave Holland, and Tito Puente, as well as the big bands of Chico O’Farrill, Duke Ellington, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Maria Schneider. In addition, Birdland is home to such popular musical events as the Umbria Jazz Festival in NYC and the Annual Django Reinhardt NY Festival. The club has established itself as an essential part of New York jazz history.
I know for a fact that at least a dozen other clubs in NYC are contemplating their futures right now.
February will be a year since many first-closed up in the hopes that it would be just for several months. Any of these clubs closing will further alter nightlife in NYC.
Restaurants, clubs, Broadway, music venues … all gone.
VINYL RULES — For the second time in a month, weekly vinyl album sales in the U.S. hit a new record high.
A total of 1.445 million vinyl albums were sold in the week ending Dec. 17 (up 9% compared to the previous week) – the biggest week yet for vinyl LP sales since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. The previous record week was set only two weeks earlier, when 1.253 million were sold in the week ending Dec. 3.
The top-selling vinyl album in the week ending Dec. 17 was Taylor Swift’s Folklore, with 23,000 copies sold (up 543%). Folklore got a big boost from sale pricing and promotion in Swift’s official webstore, where it’s available in assorted color variants.
The industry could hit another record high in the week ending Thursday, Dec. 24, as that tracking week will capture a full seven shopping days leading up to the Christmas Day holiday on Friday, Dec. 25.
Vinyl album sales have surpassed 1 million in a single week four times, and three of those have occurred in the last month: 1.445 million (week ending Dec. 17), 1.253 million (week ending Dec. 3) and 1.195 million (week ending Dec. 10). The other million-selling week came in 2019, when 1.243 million were sold in the week ending Dec. 26, 2019.
SHORT TAKES — Wonder Woman fell off 67% in its second week of release. It sure looked great, but lacked any cohesive story line. Kristen Wiig’s character, supposedly Cheetah (from the comics) wasn’t once called that in the movie. And, Pedro Passcal, a big favorite of ours, was somewhat miscast. Liam Neeson, rumored as the baddie for the next will definitely bring some much needed gravitas to the narrative … but, Patti, please get some decent writers (call me!) … RIP Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers)! … Fans of NYC’s Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhousecan guardedly look forward to hoisting seltzer and schmaltz again, as owner David Zimmerman says he intends to reopen the restaurant “in the future,” though he acknowledged he will likely have to relocate the establishment from its iconic-yet-grim basement dwelling on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side to a new location. “Without question it has been the toughest year for all of us and everyone in our industry,” Zimmerman said in a text message Sunday. “We can’t wait and hope to see everyone enjoying latkes, vodka, chopped liver and steaks once again. We need this horrible time to pass and bring Sammy’s back so we can celebrate again. ”There’s no set date for reopening: “We got to be somewhat back to normal,” Zimmerman said. A decision on where to move the restaurant will be made “at a later date,” he said. The restaurant’s Instagram account also posted a message Sunday afternoon saying, “It is with great sadness that we announce that the rumors are true and we have had to shut the doors to the infamous basement… We may be closed now, but when all this is over and we feel safe enough to hold hands during the hora, we will be back stronger, louder, and tastier than ever before” …
Some exciting news coming shortly from My Father’s Place in Long Island. Michael “Eppy’ Epstein has brought in PR-man David Salidor to spread the word. As we’ve noted before, Salidor worked for the club when he was in college and just starting what has become a pretty stellar career. A homecoming for sure. Stay tuned on this one …
SiriusXM’s Larry Flick taking a pause in his star-studded career. I first got to know Larry when he was at Billboard doing the weekly disco column – yes, when there was disco- and he transitional successfully to an on-air talent at the webcaster. Good man, excellent taste, he will be missed … but, plans are already in the works for him to return at some point. All the best! … And, Happy Bday Andrew Sandoval!
RANDY ALEXANDER ZOOM-FUNERAL — Unfortunately I’ve done more than my share of Zoom-funerals in 2020. Sunday was the funeral for PR-pasha Randy Alexander. Tastefully done and I saw a few of his past clients there, which was so well-deserved. Somewhat surprised there weren’t more (Gamble & Huff; Kal Rudman’ Lee Shapiro; Kreskin). Again, a fierce PR-force to reckon with, the media loved working with him as did some terrific clients. RIP my friend; rest easy!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Gary Graff; Tud Zurkowski; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Steve Walter; Cary Baker; Susan Jacobs; Steve Leeds; Lush Ice; Paul Undersinger; Jane Blunkell; Joel Diamond; Robey; Brad LeBeau; Phillip Goldstein; Phyllis Nelson; Denise Lopez; and, CHIP!