Jazz returns to New York as Blue Note opens
These clubs were closed during the coronavirus pandemic, along with nearly all of the city’s other entertainment venues. But now they are coming back to life.
The Blue Note opens Tuesday with its first live show, featuring pianist Robert Glasper, after what the club owner calls “the greatest challenge” he has ever faced.
“We’ve been closed for so long,” said Steve Bensusan. “We have wanted and prayed for when we can come back.”
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Inside this temple of jazz, the silence is deafening. But for those who worship at the altar of this music, spring has been a season of renewal as this club prepares to welcome customers again.
“We are opening at only 60% of our capacity,” Bensusan said. “It’s very comfortable and spaced out. Either the tables will be six feet apart or we will have plexiglass barriers between the tables.”
The club’s jazz festival will extend to Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage in Central Park, where jazz trumpeter Chris Botti will perform on Sunday.
“First of all, I hope I will remember how to play music,” he joked.
After half a century of playing, a decade and a half at Blue Note alone, going so long without performing live was a shock to Botti.
“Because I gave my whole life to have this opportunity,” he said.
This summer marks 40 years since Botti performed another show he will never forget.
“I was in Paul Simon’s band, and we played the 750,000 people in Central Park, and it was epic,” he said.
Now he has another date with history.
“I am a little wordless to express how important this is to me,” he said. “And for everyone to celebrate the return of New York, of music and the arts and hopefully tourism and all that.”
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Summerstage is one of the best places to go to a concert, and the Blue Note is another. So the combination of the two in a jazz festival is a powerful draw.
Botti has two shows scheduled for June 20.
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