Smalls' Paradise Cabaret, Harlem 1930s
Smalls Paradise was a nightclub in Harlem, New York City. Located in the basement of 2294 Seventh Avenue, it opened in 1925 at the height of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ and was owned by Ed Smalls.
It was the only nightclub in Harlem with an African-American owner and a racially integrated clientele.
“One of the best known Jazzeries in Harlem. A dancy, scorchy floor show and first-rate dance orchestra. This is the nicest of the places sometimes referred to as "black and tans," chiefly the clientele is mixed. When Broadway lights dim and flicker out and waiters in local nightclubs languidly stack chairs on the dance floors, when saxophone players, limp from an evening of enthusiastic tootling, duck wearily into the subway, when downtown proprietors gleefully tally up the night's receipts and the first clank of milk vans is discernible through Broadway's dissipated roar, all Broadway heads to Harlem. For Harlem is to New York what Montmartre is to Paris, a spontaneous, riotous, everlasting round of jazz and jazzmania.” From Dining in New York by Rian James 1930s
Artists who performed there include Sidney Bechet, Billie Holiday, Jimmy Smith, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Buddy Rich and King Curtis.
Smalls Paradise closed in 1986.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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