It was Charlie Parker, familiarly known to his fans and fellow musicians as “Bird,” who served as the inspiration for Birdland. Opened in 1949, the club became a locus for the hot jazz scene in New York druing the 30’s and 40’s. In addition to Parker, many other jazz greats graced the Birdland stage over the years: Count Basie and his smokin’ big band made Birdland their New York headquarters, John Coltrane’s classic Quartet regularly appeared at the club in the early 1960s, and Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Erroll Garner, and many, many others played to sold-out audiences. Regulars to the nightly festivities included such household names as Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Joe Louis, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Now, half a century later, the Birdland banner has been reborn in midtown. After a decade of neighborhood success on the Upper West Side, Birdland owner John Valenti decided to move the club back to Midtown after a decade of neighborhood success on the Upper West Side. The new Birdland offers top-flight jazz in a world class setting, good sight lines and acoustics, elbow room, and a menu ripe with award-winning Southern Cuisine. Since the reemergence of the club, midtown Manhattan has been treated to some of the best jazz on the planet, including memorable sets by such musicians as Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Tony Williams, Mark Murphy, Diana Krall, Michel Petrucciani, John Scofield, Kevin Mahogany, Dave Holland, and Tito Puente, as well as the big bands of Chico O’Farrill, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Maria Schneider.