Blowin' the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene

By Travis A. Jackson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Jazz and Spatiality
The Development of Jazz Scenes

On many nights during my fieldwork, I would leave my apartment on 119th Street and walk to the 1/9 train station at 116th and Broadway. After descending the stairs on the downtown side, I would proceed to the far end of the station in order to get a seat in the front car. Upon arriving at 14th Street, I’d exit the station on the downtown side and walk up the stairs into the New York night. Turning 180 degrees toward 7th Avenue South, I’d orient myself by looking for St. Vincent’s Hospital and then looking right, where I could see the now-fallen twin towers of the World Trade Center dominating the southern horizon. Walking down 7th Avenue in their direction, I would soon encounter the red awning of the Village Vanguard stretching over the sidewalk. If I continued in that direction, I could look to the right at 10th Street, as I passed under the sign for Dix et Sept, and see patrons waiting to enter Smalls. Going further down, past Christopher Street, I might also see the enclosed sidewalk café of Sweet Basil (later Sweet Rhythm), through whose windows I could gauge the number of patrons within and perhaps catch a glimpse of the performers. Alternatively, I might have turned left at Christopher and headed toward 6th Avenue and West 3rd Street, where by going to the left I could choose between performances at the Blue Note and Visiones in a single block.

Other potential routes might have taken me north and east toward Bradley’s on University Place, north and west toward Zinno on 13 th Street, or much further south, into Tribeca, where the Knitting Factory

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