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Chicago Jazz

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Chicago Jazz Maps

 MAP: Chicago Jazz Clubs circa 1920, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, Sept. 5, 1993, p. 12

MAP: Chicago Jazz from A-Z, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 11, 1998 p. 8

 

Introduction to researching Chicago jazz venues

Researching Chicago jazz venues involves some interesting challenges. Newspapers are an important source of information about jazz clubs and other venues, but advertisements are by nature limited by the ability to pay, and many smaller clubs don't appear. Although reviews and feature articles may mention venues that are not in a paper's ads, keep in mind that editorial policies -- and less benign influences -- might keep a venue from being mentioned in a particular paper at a particular time.

In this introduction and elsewhere you'll find references to sources and Chicago-area libraries that hold them. For more info, see the Libraries and Archives tab in the toolbar above.

On this page you will find boxes with citations to survey articles and books on Chicago jazz clubs and quick links to online newspaper free and subscription sources. Chicago residents will find that the Chicago Public Library subscribes to the online Chicago Defender, and the Chicago History Museum has the Chicago Whip and other African-American newspapers (see the Libraries and Archives tab, above.) Online access to The Reader archive is free, but it only goes back to 1987. Students at colleges and universities should ask their Reference Librarians whether their library has the subscription newspapers.

The Hyde Park and Kenwood Jazz box, as well as the Bronzeville, South Shore, and Woodlawn Clubs box contains newspaper references to clubs in those neighborhoods. These lists are just a starting point for research and are not comprehensive; they are compiled from information discovered while assisting patrons with reference questions.

Advertisements in theater programs are important sources of information about early  jazz venues. The Newberry Library in Chicago has an extensive collection of Chicago theater programs, and there are some in the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library as well. Piano sheet music can also be helpful; there are several collections within the Chicago Jazz Archive and SCRC generally.

Some of the more famous early jazz clubs in Chicago had songs named after them, e.g., Royal Garden Blues, At the Canton Tea Garden With You; sometimes the piano sheets have photos and ads of the insides of clubs. Stock arrangements did not have pictures but often had ads on the cover sheets. To search for sheet music and stock arrangements, see the CJA finding aids link in the Online Sources box at the top of the left column.

This document copyright 2008-2010 University of Chicago Library; please cite this LibGuide and give credit.

Hyde Park and Kenwood Jazz

Jazz was played in Hyde Park as early as 1921, but the heyday of Hyde Park Jazz was from the 1940's into the 1970's. Below are some citations to newspaper articles, arranged by venue. When known, venue addresses, dates of operation, and examples of  gigs/mentions in the newspaper are provided. This list is merely a starting point for research, as a comprehensive list would take far more space than is available here.

The two major sources of information for items on this list are the Chicago Defender (CD) and the Chicago Tribune (CT), both of which are available online from Chicago Public Library and at several university libraries. Dates are the date of the article, not the date of performance at the club. 

The Beehive Lounge 1503 E 55TH Street

Coleman Hawkins, CD Jun. 6, 1953; Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, CD Oct. 10, 1953; Charlie "Bird" Parker, Sonny Stitt, CD Dec. 5, 1953; Al Hibbler, CD Dec. 25, 1954; Milt Jackson CD Aug. 20, 1955; Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, CD Sept. 24, 1955; Max Roach & Clifford Brown, CD Oct. 8, 1955; Thelonious Monk CD Dec. 15, 1955; Bud Powell CD, Dec. 24, 1955; Gene Ammons, CD Feb. 22, 1956; Cannonball Adderley & Adderley brothers, CD Apr. 4 & 9, 1956; Lester "Prez" Young, CD Apr. 12, 1956; Dexter Gordon & Norman Simmons, CD Apr. 26, 1956, photo May 2, 1956; Dexter Gordon and King Kolax, CD May 26, 1956.

Cadillac Lounge 1500 E 55th Street (only 6 unique mentions)

Ben Webster CD Aug. 20, 1955 & Sept. 24, 1955; mention, CD Aug. 27, 1955; mention CD Mar. 5 & 15, 1956. 

Club Rodeo, 1240 E. 47th Street (only 3 unique mentions)

Ernest Cotton Orchestra, CD Nov. 6, 1954; Billie Holiday, CD Dec. 25, 1954; Bill Farrell, CD [photo] Jan. 15, 1955.

Counterpoint Jazz Supper Club, Picadilly Hotel, 51st and Blackstone

Kenny Dorham, CD Nov. 9, 1960;  Donald Byrd, CD Dec. 1, 1960; Chris Rayburn, CD Feb. 6, 1961

Harper Court, 52d and Harper

Muhal Richard Abrams Sextet  CD July 7, 1973

Hyde Park Art Center, 1506 E 51st Street

Muhal Richard Abrams' "Platu" CD Aug. 28, 1971

Hyde Park Auditorium, 6220 Stony Island Ave.

Jazz and blues night, 50 recording stars incl. Ahmad Jamal and Chuck Willis, CD Mar. 27, 1957

Lee Loving's Hi-Hat, 1150 E 55th Street

Harpist Orlando, CD Oct. 10, 1953

Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E 57th Street

S.I. Hayakawa, Don Ewell, Mama Yancey, Lee Collins, Little Brother Montgomery CD Nov. 15, 1952; S.I. Hayakawa, Dan Burley, Lovie Austin, King Kolax, Preston Jackson, "Chink" Hester, Ernie Crawford, John Henley CD Dec. 19, 1953; George Shearing Quintet, CD April 20, 1957; Duke Ellington, CD May 16, 1957; John Coltrane, Ira Sullivan, Jody Christian, Wilbur Ware, Phil Thomas CD Oct. 29, 1959; Ramsey Lewis, CD Jan 18, 1973; Art Ensemble of Chicago, CD April 25, 1975

Nob-Hill Club 5228 Lake Park Avenue 1950's

Lefty Bates CD Oct. 10, 1953; Ben Webster and Miles Davis CD Dec. 5, 1953

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago 1156 E 59th Street

Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts, CD Sept. 25, 1967

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 55th and Kimbark

Count Basie, CD Jan. 22, 1975

Sutherland Hotel 47th Street and S Drexel Boulevard (1950's; 1990's)

Pat Moran, CD Aug. 20, 1955 and Dec. 15, 1955;  Phineas Newborn, CD Sept. 11, 1957; Dorothy Donegan, CD Jul. 2, 1958; Joe Williams, CD Jun. 17, 1962; Gene Ammons and Al Hibbler, CD May 29, 1970; Sutherland Lounge becomes Hotsy-Totsy Club, CD Mar. 25, 1972

Valhalla, on 53rd Street

Mentioned in the Chicago Tribune Aug. 30, 1981. No further location info given.

Bronzeville, South Shore, and Woodlawn Clubs

Below are some citations to newspaper articles about clubs in the South Side neighborhoods now known as Bronzeville, South Shore, and Woodlawn, arranged by venue. When known, venue addresses, dates of operation, and examples of musicians who played there are provided. This list is just a starting point for research; a complete list would take more space than is available here.

The major sources of information for items on this list are the Chicago Defender (CD) and the Chicago Tribune (CT) which are available online from Chicago Public Library and at several university libraries. Dates are the date of the article, not the date of performance at the club. 

708 Club 708 E 47th Street

Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, CD Aug. 20, 1955 Memphis Slim, CD Dec. 17, 1955 

Basin Street 6312 S. Cottage Grove (was Cadillac Bob's)

Eddie Vinson, Johnny Griffin, Buddy Smith, Junior Mance CD Aug. 20, 1955; Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson mentioned as part owner of club CD Oct. 23, 1954; Eddie Vinson & Mabel Hunter, CD Nov. 6, 1954; Willie Mabon and Eddie Vinson CD Jan. 1, 1955; Johnny Griffin and Junior Mance, CD Sept. 24, 195; Johnny Griffin, Buddy Smith and Junior Nance [Mance?] Jump Jackson's orch., Willie Jones, Betty Dupree, Phil Thomas 

Birdland (was the Beige Room) 6400 Cottage Grove

Arnett Cobb, CD Dec. 24, 1955

Budland, 6400 S. Cottage Grove

Arthur Prysock, CD Sept. 5, 1957

Ahmad Jamal's Club Alhambra 1321 S. Michigan Avenue  

Club reviewed, CD Jul. 1, 1961; Ads, CD July 22, 1961 and  Nov. 25, 1961; club closed, CD Dec. 6, 1961

Club Bagdad, 840 E 63rd Street

5 Blazes and Terry Timmons, CD Oct. 10, 1953

C and C Lounge 6513 S. Cottage Grove

Tom Archer and Porter Kilbert, Dave McCullough, Bill Hobbs, Lowell Pointer, CD Nov. 22, 1961.

Club DeLisa 5512-16 S State Street (1933-41); 5521 S. State Street (1941-58)

Over 1000 entries in Chicago Defender. Some selections: "DeLisa Gardens to begin decorating" CD Sept. 28, 1935. Show, "Manhattan Serenade" CD June 13, 1936; Show, "Hi-De-Ho" -- photo of Tommy Powell and his Hi-De-Ho Boys, CD March 13, 1937; "Red Saunders' Delisa Band is playing some fine music" CD Sept. 11, 1937; "New Drum King" [Red Saunders, photo] CD Dec. 25, 1937; "Joe Lewis Luncheon Swamped" [inside shot of Club Delisa] CD Jul. 2, 1938; "Cafe De Lisa Headliners" [photo of Sam Robinson and Charles Isham] CD May 6, 1939; Chippie Hill at Club De Lisa [photo] CD May 20, 1939; Drum "King" [different photo of Red Saunders] CD Apr. 27, 1940; Club De Lisa fire: article CD Feb. 15, 1941, photo CD Feb. 22, 1941; General Manager at New Club DeLisa [photo of Arthur T. Peaks] CD July 5, 1941; Show, patriotic revue [photo of Red Saunders] CD Jan. 31, 1942; "And now women must sit at tables [photo of interior of Club DeLisa] CD Aug. 29, 1942; Show, "Dragnet Frolic" CD Oct. 10, 1953; Show, "Summer Capers" incl. Lonnie Smith and Red Saunders, CD Aug. 20, 1955; Bulah Swan & Red Saunders Band CD Oct. 8, 1955; Nappy Brown, Lonnie Simmons, Red Saunders Band, CD April 28, 1956; Show, "Rock 'n Roll Capers" plus Red Saunders and Juan Soler Bands, CD Sept. 4, 1956; Show, "Blue in the Blues" plus Red Holloway Band and Lonnie Smith, CD Sept. 5, 1957; Butterbeans and Susie CD Sept. 11, 1957; see also feature article in Jet Magazine, Nov. 22, 1951 pg. 26-30.

Cotton Club, 6249 S Cottage Grove

Harold King and Red Allen, CD Oct. 10, 1953

Crown Propeller Lounge 868 E 63rd Street (1951-59)

Double jam session, two bands. CD Oct. 10, 1953; Valaida Snow, CD Dec. 5, 1953; Wynonie Harris, CD, Jan. 23, 1954; Benny Ventura, King Kolax, Mabel Hunter CD Dec. 25, 1954; Illinois Jacquet, Mabel Hunter, CD Aug. 20, 1955; Roy Milton, CD Dec. 17, 1955; Ivory Joe Hunter CD Dec. 24, 1955; Erskine Hawkins, CD May 21, 1956; Miles Davis, CD June 18, 1956.                 

El Grotto Supper Club 6412 S. Cottage Grove, in the Pershing Hotel (1944-47)

Ivie Anderson CD July 28, 1945; "Shot by cop" CD Dec. 15, 1945; "Club El Grotto Stars" [photo] CD Jul 6, 1946; George Auld CD July 13, 1946; "Entertains guests at El Grotto" CD July 20, 1946; El Grotto to serve dinner to Billikens CD Jul. 20, 1946; "El Grotto Prize Winning Float" CD Sept. 28, 1946; Ida James at Harry Fields' El Grotto Supper Club CD Oct. 5, 1946; Follies and parade of Movie Stars at El Grotto [photo] CD May 3, 1947; Pershing Hotel's Beige Room to open where El Grotto was CD Dec. 13, 1947; Larry Steele eulogizes Harry Fields who died 3/24/67 CD March 23, 1968; Background on opening of El Grotto CD Jan. 4, 1975.

The Flame Lounge 809 Oakwood

Jump Jackson's orch., Willie Jones, Betty Dupree, Phil Thomas, CD Aug. 20, 1955; Melvin Scott band with Willie Jones, Bettye Dupree, Phil Thomas CD Oct. 8, 1955.

Gerri's Palm Tavern, 446 E. 47th Street

1200 entries in the Chicago Defender; it was near the old Regal Theatre. A selection : Mar. 23, 1957; April 22 & 24, 1957; photo of Gerri, May 2, 1957; May 13 & 27, 1957; June 11, 22, and 27, 1957; photo July 27, 1957. Display ads Aug. 8, 15, 22 & 29, 1957, photo of Gerri Aug. 22, 1957, article Aug. 28, 1957. Article Oct. 14 & 31, 1957, photos Oct. 21 and Nov. 14, 1957 (same photo); article Dec. 4, 1957; photo of Pat Davies, mention of Sam Cooke, Dec. 5, 1957. Articles Jan. 16, Feb. 12, Mar. 8 & 17, April 29 & 30, May 5, 6, 13, 15, 20, 22, & 27, 1958; photo of Gerri May 26, 1958. Articles June 10, 14, 16, 18, 30, 1958; music mentioned Jan. 25, 1961 (on records?) Ad and brief interview with Gerri, June 19, 1967, photo of Gerri with Dizzy Gillespie and Rev. Jessie Jackson, Nov. 21, 1967. "Celebrities make Gerri's Palm Tavern 47th Street Landmark" (photo) Oct. 22, 1969. Photo of DJ "Mel-Mel" at the Palm Tavern, Oct. 3, 1970. Bronze Silent of Chicago at Palm Tavern, Nov. 5 & Dec. 10, 1970 (photo). Gerri Oliver celebrates her birthday at the Palm Tavern (May 28) May 22, 1971, photo June 2, 1971. Ron Ellison & Friends jam session (live music) ads start Dec. 18, 1971. "Gerri's Palm Tavern set for New Year's" mentions jam sessions, Jan. 1, 1972. Photo of Palm Tavern barmaid Bernita Jones, Feb. 15, 1972. Photo of Gerri with John Jackson & Sam Jones of J&J Catering Service, Feb. 22, 1972. Gerri's Palm Tavern adds a Soul Kitchen, see March 25, 1972; "47th Street alive, active" Oct. 19, 1974. Live music again at Palm Tavern, July 28, 1975. Gerri (photo) -- 1976 Gerri's 20th year owning the Palm Tavern, Dec. 27, 1975. Chicago Tribune starts picking up live music at Gerri's Palm Tavern in 1981.

New Grand Terrace Cafe, Calumet & 35th Street

Memphis Slim, CD Aug. 20, 1955; King Kolax, CD May 21, 1956;

Harry's Show Lounge 432 E 63rd Street (1947-1963)

Beverly White, CD July 30, 1949; new owners, Aug. 20, 1949 (last item); community sing, Jan. 13, 1951; Ad June 9, 1951; Johnny Houser and the Bali Beach All Stars, Sept. 13, 1952; Jewell Belle (photo), Barrington Perry (piano) and "Rail" Wilson (bass) July 10, 1954; Johnny Pate trio (Pate, Ronell Bright, Charles Walton) CD Dec. 24, 1955;  Ad -- Bob White on Hammond B3 organ, Feb. 13, 1956, article Mar. 22, 1956; George "stardust" Greene (vocals & drums), Ramsey Lewis (piano), Eldee Young (bass) June 6, & 18,1956; "Harry's Lounge has new [package liquor] policy." CD Aug. 9, 1956;  captioned photo, Les Tucker Trio, Tucker,  Penny Pendleton (bass), Bobby Robinson (guitar)  CD July 15, 1958. "Rhythm Aces at Harry's for the weekend" CD Sept. 18, 1958;

Just Show Me Lounge, 1049 W. 59th Street

Memphis Slim, Little Walter CD Sept. 11, 1957

Kitty Kat Club, 611 E. 63rd Street

Ahmad Jamal, CD Jan. 23, 1954 & Oct. 8, 1955; King Fleming Combo, CD April 26, 1956; John Young Trio, CD Jul. 8, 1961;

McKie's Disc Jockey Lounge E. 63rd and S. Cottage Grove

Gene Ammons, "Candido" (who played with Kenton) and "Jump" Jackson's band, CD Oct. 8, 1957;  Party for Ahmad Jamal, CD Jan. 7, 1960; Gene Ammons, Benny Green and Sonny Stitt, CD Nov. 25, 1961; Ben Webster CD Mar. 18, 1963;  Photo of McKie Fitzhugh, CD Aug. 31, 1974 

Moore's Famous Door, 3951 S. Drexel

Club mentioned, CD Jul. 8, 1961;

The Pershing Lounge in the Pershing Hotel, 6400 S. Cottage Grove

Ahmad Jamal: CD Aug. 27, 1957; CD Sept. 5, 1957; CD Oct. 8, 1957;

Regal Theater 4710 South Parkway (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) 1928-fire 1971; demolished 1973.

Over 3000 Chicago Defender entries on the original Regal Theater. A selection: "Interior of the Regal Theater" [photo] CD Dec. 24, 1927; Dave Peyton and "Fess" Williams [photo] CD Jan. 14, 1928; "Regal Theater Heads Greet Press" CD Jan. 21, 1928; Fess Williams & Regal Theater Symphony CD Feb. 4, 1928; Regal Theater opens, personnel of Regal Theater orchestra CD Feb. 11, 1928; "Welcomes opening of Regal Theater" [photo] CD Feb. 18, 1928; "Fess gives Regal Steppers a few Pointers" CD Feb. 25, 1928; Percy Venable doing dance production at Regal CD March 3, 1928; Chorus girl shoots at drummer Jasper Taylor at Regal CD June 9, 1928;  Basie band plays for Billikens at Regal CD Nov. 28, 1936; Fats Waller plays for Billikens at Regal CD Oct. 18, 1941; Earl Hines plays for Billikens at Regal CD Nov. 19, 1938; Cab Calloway CD Nov. 14, 1942; Nat "King" Cole, May 5, 1945; Sarah Vaughan, James Moody, Redd Foxx CD Apr. 13, 1959; "H&H Cafe destroyed [near Regal] CD July 15, 1972; "Tear Down Regal" CD Aug. 25, 1973; "Set rally to save Regal" CD Sep. 11, 1973; "Days of glory ending" [photo] CD Sept. 13, 1973; "What became of the old producers?" CD Nov. 17, 1973;"The Death of the Regal Theater" CD Nov. 24, 1973.

New Regal Theater 1645 E. 79th Street Was the Avalon Theater 1927-1970's; "New" Regal from 1987.

 

Rhumboogie Club 343 E 55th Street open early 1940's, closed 1947

Roberts Show Lounge 6222 S Parkway Boulevard

Duke Groner, CD Feb. 13, 1956; photo of Black Velvet and clubgoers, CD June 14, 1956; Joe Lewis, Herman Roberts, and Count Basie, CD Dec. 8, 1956; female impersonators, CD April 17, 1957; Sammy Davis Jr., CD Aug. 14, 1957; Carmen McRae, then Lionel Hampton, CD Sept. 17, 1957; Gene Krupa, CD Oct. 8, 1957. 

Stage Lounge 1524 E 63rd Street (1955-?)

Chuck Berry, CD Dec. 17, 1954; Chuck Berry, Red Holloway band CD Dec. 24, 1955; Art Blakey  CD April 28, 1956; Gene Ammons and Jump Jackson, CD Sept. 11, 1957; 

Strand Show Lounge (in Strand Hotel) 6325 S Cottage Grove (1951-66)

Horace Henderson, CD Oct. 10, 1953 

Sugar Hill, 7004 Stony Island Avenue

Club mentioned, CD Oct. 8, 1957

Tony's House of Joy, 510 E 43rd Street

Helen Calloway, Tom Archia and Martin's Band, CD Sept. 5, 1957

Tippin Inn Lounge, 325 E. 35th Street

club mentioned CD Jul. 8, 1961

Tivoli Theater, 63rd Street and S. Cottage Grove

Pearl Bailey (first live show at Tivoli), CD Jan. 24, 1959, photo CD Mar. 28, 1959; Fats Domino CD April 20, 1959; Count Basie CD May 9, 1959; Louis Jordan, CD July 25, 1959; Ahmad Jamal, Cannonball Adderly, Carmen McCrae CD Dec. 31, 1959; Duke Ellington Band: photo, CD Jan. 28, 1960; CD Jan. 30, 1960; Art Blakey and the Jazz Messingers CD Feb. 5, 1963 .

Trianon Ballroom 6201 S Cottage Grove (1930's-1965; demolished late 1960's)

Ad for Trianon Ballroom, CT Dec. 12, 1922; WMBB broadcasts jazz from the Trianon Ballroom, CT Apr. 16, 1925; "Reunion of couples who met at the Trianon" CT Feb. 18, 1954;  Jonah Jones and Dorothy Donegan, CT Oct. 31, 1963; Dizzy Gillespie, CT Oct. 18, 1964; Lena Horne, CT Feb. 6, 1955; "Trianon to be demolished" CT Jan. 2, 1967

Vincennes Lounge, 601 E 36TH ST

Lefty Bates, CD Aug. 20, 1955 

White City Ballroom E 63rd Street and S Parkway Boulevard (1920's-1940's)

Wolfscale's Band to play White City, CD June 22, 1918; Ad for White City,  CD Jul. 2, 1921

 

Subject Guide

Quick Links: Newspapers

Survey articles on Chicago jazz clubs

"Three steps back. one leap forward..." Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 11, 1998

"Hotter near the lake..." Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 5, 1993

"Joints are really jumpin'... " (with addresses)  Larry Kart, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 3, 1986

"Clubs where jazz is in full swing..." (with addresses) Larry Kart, Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1981

"Jazz hasn't come back, it was never away" Harriet Choice, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 7, 1979

"Jamming for the rent" Harriet Choice, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 22, 1978

"New note in Chicago jazz" (Blue Note Jazz Club) William Leonard, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 6, 1955


Selected Books on Chicago Jazz Clubs