"Yardbird" from the Original Birdland, New York 1950s
The original Birdland, which was located at 1678 Broadway, opened on December 15, 1949 just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan. It closed in 1965 due to increased rents. The name "Birdland" was chosen to capitalize on the popularity of their regular headliner Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, who, at that time, had been enjoying undisputed popularity as a jazz artist. The opening night was "A Journey Through Jazz", consisting of various styles of the music up to that point, played by "Maxie Kaminsky, Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Harry Belafonte, Stan Getz, and Lennie Tristano, in that order." From 1949 to 1965 the list of performers that played ""Birdland, Jazz Corner of the World" reads like a who's who of jazz greats:
Chet Baker, Count Basie, George Benson, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Blossom Dearie, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Maynard Ferguson, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, Michel Legrand, Ramsey Lewis, Pat Martino, Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Anita O'Day, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Tito Puente, Buddy Rich, George Shearing, Nina Simone, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Lester Young, and Joe Zawinul, A new Birdland jazz club opened in 1986 and is now at 315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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