Legendary Jazz Landmark Lenox Lounge will shut its doors forever New Year’s Eve, says longtime owner Alvin Reed. The cool Art Deco cabaret has been open since 1942 and has hosted a Who’s Who of musical icons such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday.
Reed who’s owned the bar since 1988, says the exceedingly high rent –$20,000, double what he has been paying–has forced him to give up the lease.
Richard Notar, a managing partner at Nobu Restaurants is set to take over the space after the new year. Notar told The New York Times he hopes to keep the bar as “an old watering hole” with live music, but it’s unclear if he will work out a deal with Reed to continue using the Lenox Lounge name.
Posted in Art and Culture, Drink, Entertainment, Harlem, History, Menu Harlem Hot Spots, Music, New York City, Real Estate Tagged with: Art Deco, Billie Holiday, Harlem, John Coltrane, Lenox Lounge, Miles Davis, New Year, New York Times
By HarlemGuy (excerpted from CNN.com)
Today the United States Mint launched a new coin Tuesday featuring jazz legend Duke Ellington. This make Duke Ellington the African-American to appear by himself on a circulating U.S. coin.
The coin was introduced Tuesday in Washington. Ellington, the composer of classics including “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” appears on the “tails” side of the new D.C. quarter. George Washington is on the “heads” side, as is usual with U.S. quarters.
The coin was issued to celebrate Ellington’s birthplace, the District of Columbia. The U.S. Mint Director introduced the new coin at a news conference Tuesday at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Members of Ellington’s family were present at the ceremony. The jazz band of Duke Ellington High School performed. Ellington won the honor by a vote of D.C. residents, beating out abolitionist Frederick Douglass and astronomer Benjamin Banneker. The coin features the phrase “Justice for all.”
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington received 13 Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, among numerous other honors. His orchestra’s theme song, “Take the A Train,” is one of the best-known compositions in jazz. Ellington was born in the district in 1899 and composed more than 3,000 songs, including “Satin Doll,” “Perdido” and “Don’t Get Around Much Any More.” “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” helped usher in the swing era of jazz. Ellington performed with other famous artists, including John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and he traveled around the world with his orchestras. He died in 1974 at the age of 75. The first African-American to appear on a circulating coin was York, a slave who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their “Corps of Discovery” adventures across America at the dawn of the 19th century. The 2003 Missouri quarter features the three men together in a canoe on the obverse.
The U.S. Mint distinguishes between circulating coins, which are intended for daily use, and commemorative ones, which mark special occasions. African-Americans including Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier, have appeared on commemorative coins. Educator Booker T. Washington, botanist George Washington Carver and the first Revolutionary War casualty, Crispus Attucks, all of whom were black, have also appeared on commemorative coins, according to the U.S. Mint.
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Posted in Harlem Tagged with: Benjamin Banneker, Booker T. Washington, Corps of Discovery, Crispus Attucks, D.C., District of Columbia, Duke Ellington, Edward Kennedy, Ella Fitzgerald, Frederick Douglass, George Washington, George Washington Carver, It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, National Museum of American History, Posts By Harlemguy, the Smithsonian, The U.S. Mint