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Speakeasy Jazz Comes Back to Swing Street in Harlem

By admin | January 3, 2012

Photo: Jason Rodman

Any fan of Harlem, or Jazz for that matter, would undoubtedly love to go back in time to the 20′s and 30′s when the onset of Jazz reigned here. Even to just get a glimpse of the original Red Rooster would be treat! Well there’s no need to wish for a time machine just yet, since you can get a taste of the original speakeasy Jazz every Friday night in the same place where this famed music first emerged.

Every Friday night, Bill’s Place at 148 West 133rd Street opens its doors to two shows, one at 9:00pm and the other at 11:00pm to play the sweet sounds of classic Jazz that once filled the streets of Harlem. West 133rd Street was in fact named Swing Street for housing dozens of speakeasies during the Prohibition era where Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Willie “The Lion” Smith first played. So Bill’s Place is where the center of it all once was. Although now on a quiet residential street, Bill’s Place was originally Tillie’s Chicken Shack during the Jazz era, where live Jazz would be played and moonshine served to all during late after hours.

Jazz musician and Harlem native Bill Saxton is keeping this legend alive every Friday night where he serves up real Jazz for patrons. So for a taste of how Harlem once was check out Bill’s Place on Fridays. Shows are $15 per person and reservations can be made online.

For more information, click here and watch the Channel 13 documentary below about Bill’s Place and the Harlem Speakeasy and Jazz Renaissance.

[vsw id="16637168" source="vimeo" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"]

Photo: jrodmanjr

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