Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birdland Lives! Birdland New York City 1960 And A Good Bit On Miles Davis

Click on the above picture to enlarge it. It is a William Claxton photo from 1960.
It is a picture of the original Birdland. 1678 Broadway New York City.
I see this famous jazz club is still around.But at a different location. Here is their website:
But click on the link below to read about the history of the original Birdland.
I seem to be posting a number of things from 1960. See my post below about the Living Theater in 1960.
I only remember one visit to the original Birdland and it was in 1960. I recall the large room which they say would seat 400 people. I remember the large bandstand. I also remember that everyone was well dressed that came in that club. While we were there Miles Davis came in with a woman on his arm and took a seat to listen to the music. He was wearing a really sharp suit. The kind that the men who read Esquire magazine back in 1960 would wear. Miles wore clothes like that in the 1950s and '60s.
I just remembered I did see Miles again in the summer of 1969. He came and played a full week at The Cellar Door in Georgetown. I went along with a few friends. One guy I knew went every night. The night I went I saw Miles with his fusion group. He would play one or two notes with his back to the audience and then walk off the stage and let his band continue. During one of the breaks one of the guys I was with got up and said he was going to talk to Miles. I started to tell him I didn't think that was a good idea. In fact I thought it was a terrible idea. When he came back he was in a state of shock. Whatever he said to Miles and whatever Miles said back at him clearly had not gone well. I knew Miles reputation. Best to leave him alone.
Just before he died I saw him in the lobby of a hotel in Washington, D.C. He had been playing at Blues Alley in Georgetown that night and it was late when he came back to the hotel. The desk clerk asked him if he could take a picture with him and Miles told him in a real weak raspy voice, "No, man I don't feel good".
Miles looked really old and tired. He had really long hair which was either a wig or hair extensions. He looked weak but still had some fire in his eyes and the look that said you really don't want to bother me. He died soon after I saw him that year. I think I saw him then in the summer of 1991. He had become an old sick man. When he died WPFW the local jazz Pacifica station in Washington, D.C. played Miles Davis music 24 hours a day for all one week.
Here is good information on Miles Davis.