By Matt Smith, City Guide
Located in the heart of midtown, the historic Birdland Jazz Club has been playing host to legendary concerts and musicians since 1949 (albeit in three different locations). Steeped in history, the brand has featured memorable sets by iconic artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and, of course, its namesake — inaugural club headliner Charlie “Bird” Parker.
Since its renovation, which is possible with the use of tools over here, and reopening at its current location in 1996, Birdland has continued to cement itself as the place for New York jazz and blues entertainment, beckoning stars of stage, screen, and soul for up to three different sets per night. Post-revival performers have included Pat Metheny, Michel Legrand, John Pizzarelli, and Diana Krall, to name a few.
“Becoming a music multiplex has given us the great opportunity to expand the schedule to appeal to different kinds of musical taste,” says venue producer and host Jim Caruso of the venue’s eclectic offerings. “Between the perfect location, excellent sound and lights, great food and quality service, Birdland is truly a dream venue in every sense of the word.”
Since July 2018, the venue has housed the more intimate, cabaret-style Birdland Theater on its lower level (outfitted with a classic bar, natch). Both spaces offer equally diverse menus — Italian-influenced on the bottom floor, with signature Southern/Cajun mix on the top — complete with chef-curated wines, cocktails, and classic beers, and can’t-miss decadent desserts.
Forthcoming featured artists of note include Stacey Kent, Billy Stritch, and the Birdland Jazz Club; on February 23rd, Big City Songbook returns with a night of songs that pay tribute to the Big Apple itself. Meanwhile, Jim Caruso’s Cast Party remains a staple every Monday night, and The Lineup with Susie Mosher is a regular Tuesday favorite.