Jazzy blasts to welcome the New Year
12/28/2011, 6:22 p.m.
The year seems like it just flew by, and here we are getting ready to celebrate another year busting into 2012. One thing's for sure: In Gotham there is never a dull moment when New Year's Eve swings into town. Here are a few jazz clubs you may want to check out on the biggest party night of the year.
The historical Showman's Cafe (375 W. 125th St.) in Harlem will be jumping with the Baba Don Quintet; there will be shows at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. The cost for the evening is $55 per person or $100 per couple, which includes a traditional New Year's Eve soul food dinner, from fried chicken to pig's feet. Not a bad price for these difficult economic times. For reservations, call (212) 864-8941.
The legendary Lenox Lounge (288 Lenox Ave. at 125th Street), where Billie Holiday and Langston Hughes hung tough, will present pianist Danny Mixon and his quartet featuring vocalist Vinnie Knight.
There will be two shows: The one at 8 p.m. is $30 per person while the New Year's Eve show begins at 10, costs $60 per person and includes party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Recorded music or the sounds of a live DJ will raise the partying spirits and keep everyone dancing until 4 a.m. For reservations, call (212) 427-0253 ext. 13.
Sista's Place at 456 Nostrand Ave. (corner of Jefferson Avenue) in Brooklyn will present trombonist-composer Craig S. Harris. Regardless of his configuration, Harris is an innovator who leads his audience on exciting expeditions touching the shores of jazz and funk.
There is only one set beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 1 a.m. The admission is $50 per person, which includes a Southern dinner with fried chicken, black-eyed peas and rice, potato salad and collard greens. Party favors and a midnight champagne toast is all part of the package. For New Year's Eve, this sounds like the best bet. For reservations, call (718) 398-1766.
Back on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the incredible pianist Harold Mabern will join saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth, with special guest vocalist Gregory Porter, at the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club (2751 Broadway at 105th Street).
This New Year's Eve celebration is part of Smoke's "Countdown 2012: Winter Coltrane Festival;" the two dinner shows will feature music associated with John Coltrane.
The first seating, beginning at 6:30 p.m., is $95 per person at the bar and $145 per person at tables, which includes an open bar (wine and beer), and a four-course dinner and one show. Executive chef Patricia Williams will be preparing such delectable entrees as truffle-studded roast chicken, butter-poached lobster and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
Unfortunately, the second seating at 9:45 is already sold out. But don't fret-the jazz continues at a late-night session from 12:45 a.m. to 3 a.m. with the phenomenal pianist-vocalist Johnny O'Neal & his Quartet with guest tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard. There is a $30 cover charge and $10 drink minimum. For reservations, call 212-864-6662.