A great night out in Harlem with someone who is part of the uptown scene. If you’ve ever been curious about what’s really going on in Harlem after dark, this is the walking tour for you!
There is no company in New York with more intimate knowledge of the music scene. We customize our itineraries to take advantage of last-minute information and hit all the MUST-SEE events in a given night. No other company is this flexible and passionate about showing you the best time possible. Even native New Yorkers rely on us for our insights!
You'll visit 3 hidden jazz haunts for hours of live music.
Along the way you'll make stops throughout the tour to see and hear about Harlem's storied past and current scene. Music charges at 3 clubs, and transportation charges are included. Start and end the tour conveniently in Midtown Manhattan.
You'll learn about the Apollo, Cotton Club, Savoy Ballroom and Minton's Playhouse, which all played pivotal roles in the development of jazz and brought the world's attention to Harlem during the Prohibition Era and beyond.
Your jazz guide knows all the neighborhood's most intimate Juke Joints (i.e. local hang outs for live music and good times), and will share the insider’s view with you.
You'll relax and enjoy the scene at a minimum of two clubs, (but most tours visit three), for a hand-picked variety of swinging live jazz while avoiding the tourist traps.
It's important to get the authentic feel for a neighborhood, so this is a subway/taxi/walking tour that is limited to the first 8 people to sign up (exceptions can sometimes be made). If you want to enjoy yourself and learn about Harlem without feeling like just another outsider peeking in, then you have found the right tour for you. That is what we are all about.
Your jazz guide will be checking around to put together the best tour for each given night, based on the most talented performers that night in Harlem's Most Exciting Clubs -- among them:
-The renown “Birthplace of Bebop”
-A members' only club that dates back to the 20’s
-A 1960's vintage dive bar with free food and swinging live music
-A Hammond B3 organ lounge from the 40’s where Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughanperformed.
-A Speakeasy with roots going back to Prohibition and the discovery of Billie Holiday by John Hammond.
-And new Harlem spots on their way to becoming legendary - all with their own special charms.
We’ll hear vocalists in the Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington tradition, serious soloists in theSonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie tradition in neighborhood spots so hidden even some neighbors haven’t spotted them yet, and great bits of jazz history in the warmest, most inviting neighborhood in NYC!
JAM if You Want:
If you are a jazz musician or vocalist, let us know...You will get a chance to join the jam.
The tour starts early, but rest assured there's great music that shouldn't be missed happening in hidden spots all hours of the day and night. And if you would like to keep going after the rest of the group goes off to bed, your guide will offer great advice for more late night action. There is no company in New York that knows more about the ever-changing music scene and pivots itineraries seamlessly to take advantage of up-to-the-minute information.
Tours Start Conveniently in Midtown Manhattan:
Guests are escorted by guide back to midtown's hotel district.
What Is Not Included?
There will be opportunities to eat and drink during this tour when we hang out in the jazz joints, but food and beverages are not included in the tour price. You may wish to bring some extra dollars to tip musicians, guide and servers.
Greenwich Village Jazz Crawl 4 hours
UNDERGROUND JAZZ CRAWL!
Just as much music, but less walking than the Harlem Juke Joint Tour.
We have room for up to 10 guests on this intimate Greenwich Village Jazz Tour. As with all our Big Apple Jazz Tours, your guide selects only the best underground clubs and bands performing on that particular night - and all cover charges are included in the tour price.
We move from club to club (at least 3 clubs per night) seeking out the energy and excitement for which the Village jazz scene is famous. We will visit the prohibition era joint where David Bowiesought out that special energy and excitement to select the players for his final record, Black Star.
In this way, we intersperse the live music with lively and interesting insights into the Village's rich jazz and social history. The tour starts relatively early, so you'll be shocked to find out how much great jazz is being performed by masters and innovators in this neighborhood's below-the-radar scene. No lines, no crowds, just amazing live music - up close and personal.
Your expert guide will point out defunct legendary clubs like Cafe Society, where Billie Holidaymade her downtown debut; and other long gone clubs like Sweet Basil's, The Village Gate, and the hard-bopping Cafe Bohemia where Charles Mingus, Art Blakey and Miles Davis jammed at the peak of their powers.
If you sign up for a Sunday or Monday night tour we will make sure to include New York's oldest jazz joint to hear yesterday's trad. jazz performed to salty perfection today. This is the Big Apple's version of the venerable Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans - an utterly authentic wonder to behold.
Chances are that we'll discover among the many Village clubs a jazz or blues singer belting out deep and soulful numbers like nowhere else on Earth.
What Is Not Included?
There will be opportunities to drink during this tour when we stop in each of the jazz joints, but beverages are not included in the tour price. (Tipping advice: One dollar per drink is considered a good gratuity).
MEALS? Meals are hard to come by in the Village underground jazz scene; so we advise guests to have eaten prior to the start of your tour. Your guide will be happy to point you to wonderful Village restaurants that will be open after the conclusion of the tour as well.
Expenses? You may wish to bring some extra dollars to tip musicians, guide and servers. There may also be opportunities to purchase autographed CD's from the musicians we meet. These would not be included in the tour price.