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ghost of miles

"Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People"

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This week's Night Lights program Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People takes a look at New York City's first integrated nightclub, a diverse musical panorama where artists such as Teddy Wilson, Frankie Newton, Big Joe Turner, Pete Johnson, Hazel Scott, Josh White and Lena Horne all performed, and a gathering spot for Popular Front entertainers and intellectuals. It's also the place where Billie Holiday debuted her version of "Strange Fruit," the anti-lynching song that became an early civil-rights anthem. The program features music from all of the previously-mentioned artists, as well as remarks from cultural historian Michael McGerr and Terry Trilling-Josephson, widow of Cafe Society owner Barney Josephson and co-author of his newly-published memoir.

 

"Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People" airs tonight at 11 p.m. EST on WFIU-Bloomington, at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, and at 11 p.m. Central Time on KOSU-Oklahoma City. It also airs tomorrow evening at 10 p.m. EST on Blue Lake Public Radio and KMBH-Brownsville, TX. It is already archived for online listening.

Edited by ghost of miles

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I remember fondly Josephson's last venture, The Cookery. Had many a dinner there, listening to fine music after a day's work. Then I'd move down the street, 'round the corner to Bradley's for serious drinking and more great music.

Edited by Chuck Nessa

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He talks quite a bit about the Cookery in that new book; I'd still like to get the Mary Lou Williams CD that was recorded there.

I remember seeing Mary Lou Williams there. Didn't know she'd done a recording.

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Williams actually played at Cafe Society in the 1940s as well. I included a short piece from The Zodiac Suite in the original version of the Night Lights show but had to drop it to make the 59:00 time limit. I may re-do the program as a standalone, non-Night Lights special and will probably try to smuggle the Williams track back into it.

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This Night Lights airs tonight on Blue Lake right after my 26th Anniversary program.

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This Night Lights airs tonight on Blue Lake right after my 26th Anniversary program.

Congratulations, cheers, and here's to another 26 years of LV on the air... :party::tup

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Thank you, thank you. The service that provides our web streaming was down for repairs Sunday night -- without prior notice. Sorry if anyone was hung up by that.

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I spent many good nights at The Cookery on University Place. Last eve I was there they had Ray Brown Trio.

Re Mary Lou Williams - -there is a 33 LP, 10" that I once owned, but sold. It may be out there somewhere....really an excellent recording

of her beautiful piano work.

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This week's Night Lights program Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People takes a look at New York City's first integrated nightclub, a diverse musical panorama where artists such as Teddy Wilson, Frankie Newton, Big Joe Turner, Pete Johnson, Hazel Scott, Josh White and Lena Horne all performed, and a gathering spot for Popular Front entertainers and intellectuals. It's also the place where Billie Holiday debuted her version of "Strange Fruit," the anti-lynching song that became an early civil-rights anthem. The program features music from all of the previously-mentioned artists, as well as remarks from cultural historian Michael McGerr and Terry Trilling-Josephson, widow of Cafe Society owner Barney Josephson and co-author of his newly-published memoir.

We're re-airing Cafe Society: the Wrong Place for the Right People this weekend; it's already archived for online listening.

Next week: "Chicago Calling: Unsung Heroes of the City's Hardbop Scene."

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So, a bit of a crazy story here:  a few weeks ago I scheduled the Night Lights Cafe Society show to re-air last week.  Just a few days ago I received an invitation to come out and give a talk about Cafe Society at the very site of the former club (the original downtown Cafe Society that opened in December 1938) as part of a plaque-unveiling event.  The basement space at 2 Sheridan Square looks quite different now (it's the home of the Axis Theater Company), but it will still be a thrill to stand in the same space where Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Frankie Newton, Albert Ammons, and so many other jazz artists whom I love once performed.  In the meantime, here's the Night Lights program again, which includes commentary from Barney Josephson's widow Terry and historian Michael McGerr, as well as some broadcasts from the club itself:

Cafe Society: The Wrong Place For The Right People

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