Celebrities Come Together to Fundraise for Famous New York Jazz Club Birdland

In efforts to rescue the legendary New York jazz club, Birdland, a virtual concert will take place with many celebrity appearances on Jan. 24. This is the final attempt to save the iconic venue.

Photo from Theater Mania

Birdland is named after and inspired by famous Jazz artist Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, opened in 1949. It was located on Broadway and 52nd which was the hotspot for jazz during that time. As inspiration for the club, Parker was the headliner. Several notorious jazz artists performed there, causing 1.4 million people to attend within the first five years of its opening. It attracted the likes of locals and celebrities and continued to do so throughout the years.

The club closed in 1965 and reopened and relocated Uptown to 2745 Broadway in 1986. While Birdland was able to discover about 2,000 rising artists, the Uptown location didn’t last for long. It moved back to Midtown at 315 West 44th St. in 1996. Since it returned to the area it gained even more popularity for the music and the menu.

Although the club is a staple in the jazz world, the pandemic’s restrictions recently took a toll. First, the shut down of indoor dining became a setback and caused them to rely on a concert series called Radio Free Birdland. At first, the series took place in the club but as COVID-19 became more unpredictable, there were more restrictions. Producers Tom D’Angora and Tim Guinee created a GoFundMe that raised over $200,000 in hopes of saving it. The virtual concert “Save Birdland: A Celebration of Music, History, and Community” was created in order to call more attention to the GoFundMe. It will stream on the website “Save Birdland”.

This concert will be a star-studded event with appearances and performances from many celebrities of different backgrounds. Former President Bill Clinton, Michael Broderick, Leslie Odom Jr, Chita Rivera Giancarlo Esposito, and many more are a part of the lineup. With the hopes that “Save Birdland” will bring enough awareness, this is the final effort to save the renowned jazz club.

Charlie Parker (as), Fats Navarro (tp), Bud Powell (p), Curly Russell (b), Art Blakey (d). Birdland New York, June 30, 1950
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