JAZZ – Blues Alley

DC is heavy with jazz history.  From the glory days of Black Broadway which held the scene down for natives such as Duke Ellington, Frank Wess and Shirley Horn, the nation’s cap has always been a haven for the genre and its artists.

With that in mind I wanted to highlight a venue that’s played a role in that history – Blues Alley.  Check the read below for a quick snapshot courtesy of Kris Ross – Manager of Blues Alley:

Can you talk about the origins of Blues Alley and how it got started?  Why Washington , DC?

Started by a clarinetist Tommy Gwaltney as a place for his band to jam

It’s a very intimate space.  Was that the intent with its design?

No, it was what was available/affordable at the time.

Is the venue’s current space in Georgetown the first location?

Yes, there was a brief stint in Baltimore in the late 80’s.

What were some of the signs that Blues Alley was starting to become a recognized establishment in the music and or jazz industry?

The turning point was when Dizzy Gillespie played the room, fell in love with the place and talked it up to others.

As with all good things – what have been some of the issues the space has faced?

The lack of space.

The menu offers a pretty amazing lineup.  Why Creole based dishes and is there any significance regarding the naming of each dish?

No real reason, the entrees were just named after the artists who regularly performed at the club.

Who are some of the musicians that have performed at Blues Alley that most people wouldn’t expect?

Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Byrd, David Sanborn, Ahmad Jamal

In an age where digital music is strong and the economy is perhaps at its weakest why do you think Blues Alley has remained such a staple – how has the space stood the test of time?

By treating our artists and patrons with the up-most respect in the attempt to provide a first class entertainment experience.

What’s next for Blues Alley?

We shall see!!

For more information on Blues Alley visit www.bluesalley.com.


About gmoney77

My name is Gerald Watson and I do lifestyle marketing for various companies/agencies. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the people I work with, the work I do as well as the shit I see on the regular.

Posted on October 21, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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