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Blue Note Jazz Club Turns 30

  • Doug Levine

Blue Note Jazz Club Turns 30

Blue Note Jazz Club Turns 30

One of the most famous jazz clubs in the world recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.

When Danny Bensusan opened the Blue Note Jazz Club in 1981, he never dreamed that it would someday become a New York City institution. Over the years, the club has drawn some of the biggest names in jazz, as well as talented newcomers.

According to Bensusan, great jazz in a small setting has been the key to its success. Loyalty was also a factor, because audiences knew that the club brought out the best in every performer. He says, “Once they played the Blue Note they always wanted to come back, because there is an intimacy here between the audience and the musician that is appealing to everyone.”

The Oscar Peterson Trio earned three Grammy Awards for albums recorded at the Blue Note in 1990. The club was also the setting for landmark discs by Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval, as well as 90-year-old pianist Dave Brubeck, who recently returned to perform three shows during the first-ever Blue Note Jazz Festival.

Throughout June, the Blue Note hosted more than 80 shows at its home on West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village, and at popular venues around the city. In keeping with the club’s reputation for stretching musical boundaries, the schedule included lots of blues, funk, R&B, gospel, and world music.

For more on the Blue Note’s 30th anniversary and the Blue Note Jazz Festival go to