After a two-year closure caused by the pandemic, the Upper West Side’s iconic Smoke Jazz Club at 2751 Broadway by 106th Street officially reopens in July – and the beloved venue looks slightly different (in a good way). way!).
Husband-and-wife co-owners Paul Stache and Molly Sparrow Johnson actually took two adjoining storefronts (a move that was made before the pandemic) in order to expand the jazz club, which now also houses an adjoining lounge. The instantly recognizable full bar that patrons used to sit at in the venue’s original iteration now sits in the new lounge. The extra space also allows for a larger stage.
“The Smoke Jazz Club has so much history,” the co-owners said in an official statement regarding the reopening. “Despite the difficulties of the past few years, we just knew the music couldn’t stop there. The past two years have not been easy for anyone, but having live music in the club again with everyone together, musicians and listeners, seems like a turning point. We are very excited to take this next step.
Since the club opened on April 9, 1999, the owners are no strangers to the kinds of disasters that deeply affect a business. Some may even argue that their ability to survive the 9/11 attacks, various economic crashes, fires and the like contributed to how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
In keeping with the country’s new laws, Stache and Johnson effectively pivoted their original business model – for a time, no longer relying on in-person jazz sessions – to include a streaming concert series, shows on sidewalks, outdoor dining and more.
On July 21, however, things sort of return to normal with a grand reopening celebration featuring the George Coleman Quartet and special guest Peter Bernstein. Upcoming lineup also includes the Heavy Hitters, the Eddie Henderson Quintet, Mary Stallings and more.
You can view the summer schedule and buy tickets for each session on the right here.
As exciting as any local music-related business is, there’s something about a jazz club that opened in the late ’90s and has hosted Chris Potter, Eric Alexander, Jimmy Cobb and Brad Mehldau over the years. years that deserves special mention. a kind of respect, especially after the few years we’ve all been through and the kind of experiences we’ve temporarily had to give up until now.
Go ahead, New Yorkers, and enjoy live music in a historic setting.