February 26, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

The Vanguard is 75 Today

Here’s to the Village Vanguard: the temple of Jazz. Not a museum but a living, breathing space for amazing miracles of music. And most of the greats have played there.  Here’s my take on the club, going down recently to catch the JD Allen Trio. That’s Gregg August on bass and the otherworldly Tyshawn Sorey on drums. I took photos and did sketches though it was too dark for either. For once I relied mostly on the sketchbook.  In the final, the right wall has Coltrane, Monk and Miles, and not the famous tuba that Max Gordon and his daughter Deborah bought at an auction long ago. A David Remnick edit.  My thanks to him for loving jazz and going with this project for this week’s New Yorker and Lorraine Gordon, still takin’ no prisoners at 87. Coltrane’s “Impressions” included here; from a famous album recorded, guess where. Another 175, VV.


  1. felix says:

    good stuff steve

    funny, the only 3 jazzers i’ve been commissioned to do… are right there on that wall.

    the monk estate sided with me, not blue note’s VP in production of “live at carnegie hall”
    they (blue note) wouldn’t pay $300 for the revision so i just gave them the computer comp,
    which they actually used. cheap fools!

  2. Jon Casey says:

    Beautiful image. Have you considered putting out a book of your sketches? It is really enjoyable as an artist to see the work at that level.

  3. Jay Blackburn says:

    That’s a wonderful piece Steve. I’ve never been to the Village Vanguard but I feel like I just opened the door and walked into the place when I see your tribute. Your depiction of the light in the club really sets the mood and the elegant, golden sax is a character in it’s own right.

    Thanks for including your sketches. It’s a treat to get a sense of your work process. And it’s fun to study the resulting, tuned in hipster faces in the crowd.

    And it looks great as a full page presentation in The New Yorker. Well done. Thanks for posting it here also.