The Village Vanguard: NYC’s Bright Red Shrine To Jazz

NEW YORK CITY — To jazz fans and musicians alike, it is a shrine. The Village Vanguard’s iconic red awning, shadowing a small patch of sidewalk on Seventh Avenue, between Perry Street and W 11th Street, on an otherwise unexceptional city block, a beacon.

Walking through the front door and down the hallowed stairs from the street is like walking back in time, as the basement room that the Vanguard has occupied for nearly 85 years has essentially remained unchanged since its inception.

Walking down the stairs of the Village Vanguard is like walking back in time. Photo by David Allen.

Founded in 1935 by Max Gordon, a Lithuanian immigrant, the club has been a bastion of jazz for the better part of the 2oth Century (and into the 21st), as it has continuously hosted the greatest musicians in the genre.

The Vanguard has been home to some of…

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