This New Year of 2017 behooves every citizen to be active, stay vocal and remain vigilant. For such a diligent task, mandatory indulgence in some serious partying until the stars rattle in the sky and that cow refuses to jump over the moon.
Listed below are my picks of the best New Year’s Eve happenings.
Showman’s Café (375 W. 125th St.), where Langston Hughes kept a typewriter in the back, will bring in the new year with three sets at 9:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.
The $80 per person charge will include a traditional southern dinner, merry makers, a midnight toast and music by the Adrienne Sennore Trio. The organist and vocalist, along with her trusted accompanists, will cover a sparkled array of standards from ballads to get-down dance tunes. For reservations, please call 212-864-8941.
The Brooklyn activist front for jazz, Sistas’ Place (456 Nostrand Ave. at Jefferson Avenue), will bring in the new year with Kenny “Swingin” Gates and The Real Deal Trio. The party is 10:30 p.m. to midnight with an after-party. The admission of $50 per person includes a traditional southern dinner. For reservations, call 718-398-1766.
Minton’s, the former Harlem jazz shrine, where bebop was percolated and Thelonious Monk reigned as a member of the house band, will present two sets for the evening beginning at 8:30 p.m. The two sets include dinner (fried chicken, caviar and Champagne toast). The admission is $165 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
The trumpeter, composer and arranger Wayne Tucker will be the featured artist, along with some reliable sidemen. The 29-year-old has played with vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Ne-Yo and Cyrille Aimee.
For reservations, call 212-243-2222. Minton’s is located at 206 W. 118th St.
Cecil’s Restaurant (210 W.118th St.), the once bustling hotel adjacent to Minton’s, where hipsters lived and played, will present a prix fixe dinner to ring in the new year.
The first seating at 8 p.m. is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. The second seating at 9 p.m. is $90 per person and includes a midnight toast.
The two dinners include house biscuits to crab fritters, Afro-Asian-American Oxtail dumpling, half roasted chicken to triple chocolate cake. For reservations, call 212-866-1262.
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club on Manhattan’s Upper Westside (2751 Broadway at 105th Street) will be in high octave with Eric Alexander & Harold Mabern Quartet, plus a very special guest vocalist.
The longtime quartet, which is an intuitive creative force, includes the bassist John Webber, drummer Joe Farnsworth, tenor saxophonist/composer Eric Alexander and the elder statesman pianist Harold Mabern, whose contribution raised the ante of bands led by Lee Morgan (his ferocious solo can be heard on “The Gigolo,” Blue Note 1965), Wes Montgomery and Billy Harper and on 15 albums with his bandmate Eric Alexander.
Smoke offers an all-inclusive open bar and a menu of “soulful American cuisine.” The second seating includes a countdown to the new year with Champagne toast and caviar. The 6:30 p.m. set is $175 per person and the second set at 9:45 p.m. is $275 per person.
For reservations, call 212-864-6662.
Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (Broadway at 60th Street) will present the young vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, whose daring original compositions and selection of forgotten material has given her a distinct expression. She will be joined by her worthy trio, the pianist Aaron Diehl, bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Lawrence Leathers, for two shows.
Both shows include a three-course dinner. The 7:30 p.m. show is $250 per person, and the 11 p.m. show is $375 per person and includes a Champagne toast.
Blues, funk, and high flyin’ spirited jazz by the Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet will ring in the new year on Manhattan’s East Side at Jazz Standard (116 E. 27th St. at Park Avenue South). The ever-explosive octet features the trumpeter Andy Gravish, tenor saxophonist John Ellis, trombonist Andre Murchinson, baritone saxophonist Jason Marshall, guitarist Dave Stryker, drummer Jonathan Blake, percussionist Khalil Kwame Bell and their leader, the Hammond B3 organ doctor.
There are two shows. The 7:30 p.m. show, for $135 per person, includes a three-course meal, and the 10:30 p.m. show includes the dinner plus a Champagne toast at midnight for $195 per person. For reservations call 212-576-2232.
Throughout 2017, it might be important to remember the famous quote, “People should not be afraid of the government; the government should be afraid of the people.” Have a safe and prosperous new year with brighter moments, and keep reading.