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Hardbopjazz

RIP Lorraine Gordon

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Despite her rough demeanor towards musicians and those in the audience, she did run one of the greatest jazz clubs in the world. RIP Lorraine. 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/video/obituaries/1194834005243/last-word-lorraine-gordon-obituary.html?src=vidm

 

By Tim Weiner

June 9, 2018

Lorraine Gordon, who took over the Village Vanguard, New York’s oldest and most venerated jazz nightclub, in 1989 and remained its no-nonsense proprietor for the rest of her life, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 95.

The cause was complications of a stroke, said Jed Eisenman, the longtime manager of the club.

“Wherever I happened to be,” Ms. Gordon said in a 2007 interview with The New York Times, “music was always with me.”

Ms. Gordon was married for 40 years to the Vanguard’s founder and owner, Max Gordon. But she had been a jazz fan long before she met him. She fell in love with jazz as a teenager in the 1930s, listening to it on WNYC radio. The music pierced her soul, she said, “like a spike in my heart.” It was the start of a lifelong romance.

“I was lucky,” she said. “I was attracted to something wonderful which appealed to me.”

She made her first trip to the Vanguard in 1940, when she was 17 years old and a member of the Hot Club of Newark, a society of jazz enthusiasts. Not long thereafter, she met her first husband, a fellow music lover: Alfred Lion, the founder of Blue Note Records, a leading jazz label, where she would work selling the music during and after World War II.

Nine years after that first visit to the Vanguard, having divorced Mr. Lion but still in love with jazz, she married Mr. Gordon. More than seven decades later, long after Mr. Gordon’s death in 1989, she was still running the club — booking performers, counting the receipts, taking no guff and keeping the flame.

“When I have to make a decision,” she joked, “I ask, ‘What would Max do?’ Then I do the opposite.”

The Vanguard remained essentially unchanged throughout the decades after Mr. Gordon opened it at 178 Seventh Avenue South in Greenwich Village in 1935: a wedge of a room, one flight down from the sidewalk, seating 123 people. The club has always had immaculate acoustics; more than 100 records recorded live at the Vanguard by musicians like John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins and Wynton Marsalis attest to that. A good table put a customer practically face to face with a great musician. There were very few bad tables.

More on the home page of the Vanguard. https://villagevanguard.com/

 

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Thanks for the article. It has a link to the VV article on LG's death, which mentions that her daughter Deborah Gordon is going to take over the VV.

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