EMAIL US Tel. (718) 606-8442
Thanks a million for the fabulous Harlem jazz experience you mastered so
wonderfully! I wish all my colleagues from the UN could hear your charming
stories and insights, or the fantastic jam sessions you gave us the chance
to enjoy in some cool clubs. My stay in New York would have been much
poorer without this tour! Thanks for opening my eyes to the places where I
can have the most authentic and thrilling jazz experiences!!! I’ll be
~ Ambassador Simona Miculescu,
Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN
"This tour, hosted by New York jazz
expert Gordon Polatnick, is the real deal for jazz buffs."
~ Brian Silverman,
Frommer's New York City 2013 & New York City For Dummies
Contact Big Apple Jazz Tours: tel. (718)
PRIVATE JAZZ TOUR INFO BELOW
Check availability and online: Harlem Juke Joint Tour
:: Scheduled Public Tours ::
Advance purchase required — tours often sell out in advance!
Wed.-Thurs.-Fri.-Sun. Night Tour:
& Sat. Walking (crawling) Tour:
There is a section of the Village that played host to Count Basie, Coleman
Hawkins and Billie Holiday in the 30's; Charles Mingus, Max Roach,
and Charlie Parker in the 50's; John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery,
and Donald Byrd in the 60's. And today the hottest jazz players in the
world circulate among a dozen or so underground clubs where the music
never stops. Three clubs are included in this action packed walking
A WEEK: With
too many great players and clubs to choose from, this tour takes you right
to the hand-picked show of the night, and follows that with a
second set in a hidden jazz haunt to hear our choice for the show
that shouldn't be missed featuring one of New York's legends of tomorrow.
Public Tour by mini-bus:
Let us know if you like tap dancers, blues bands, vocalists, piano trios, romantic lounges, glitzy night clubs, down and dirty jam sessions, pool halls with jazz, Harlem brownstones with jazz, joining the jam session to sing or play, cutting edge New York jazz, Latin jazz, big bands, historic sites, lessons, to meet the musicians, gospel choirs, soul food dinners, etc.
One Private Tour Option:
Gordon Polatnick's REFERENCES / CONSULTATION / STUDENT JAZZ TOURS
16 years and counting
your host Gordon Polatnick
PRIVATE JAZZ TOUR info
Gordon: (718) 606-8442. Email: Gordon@BigAppleJazz.com
Jazz tours are customized specifically for you or your group. A group can be any size. We have couples and families and small circles of friends calling us from around the world; and we have corporate groups and school outings looking for something more interactive than the typical dinner and a Broadway show. So keep it intimate or invite all your friends out for an exciting and memorable evening.
guide service fee
(We have a popular $99/per
Wed./ Thurs. /
Fri./ Sun. Night Tour of Harlem Juke Joints
Transportation costs are not included but I will help you with your choices - including: Walking, subways, taxis, limos, vans, or buses. Prices will range from $0 on up. We will arrange hiring the transportation of your choice after consulting with you and giving you the best options to suit your style and budget.
where we will go
We will visit clubs that have the atmosphere and music that suits your tastes -- choices include seeing legendary players at legendary clubs like Birdland and the Village Vanguard; and/or neighborhood dives and small clubs where you are likely to find surprise guests with extraordinary talent and passion; intimate clubs featuring vocalists and trios; Hammond B-3 organ lounges; jam sessions that start late and end early from Harlem down to the Village; and great hidden restaurants in all 5 boroughs. New York is spoiled with choices, and I can help you find the clubs that will make your jazz dreams come true. And if you want to sit in, I will find you a jam session that will treat you like a long lost friend. Jazz history and commentary available throughout the tour if you swing that way, or an unobtrusive escort if you don't. Cover charges will range from $0 - $50 per person per club. We will choose clubs to fit your budget without sacrificing anything musically.
TOURS ARE AVAILABLE 7 NIGHTS A WEEK.
if you're new to jazz...
If you're new to jazz, or just want to spin the wheel of fate...just say so, and I'll take you along with me on my nightly jazz journey -- tracking down the insiders' tips on where the excitement is on the chosen night of your tour. We could discover a hidden neighborhood scene or a fresh talent destined for greatness. This is the tour where I set out to discover the next Miles Davis or Billie Holiday playing below the radar and get right up close in an off-the-beaten-path joint.
Phone: (718) 606-8442
Blues Clubs are also an option on a Big Apple Jazz Tour
"This tour, hosted by New York jazz expert Gordon
Polatnick, is the real deal for jazz buffs."
"If you want to try to hear the music in the city's
bones the way a New Yorker like me does, take a tour like Gordon Polatnick's
Big Apple Jazz Tour..."
Gene Santoro is the author of Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus and Highway 61 Revisited: The Tangled Roots of American Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Country Music. He covers music for the New York Daily News and is a columnist for Chamber Music. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post, the Village Voice, New York, the New Yorker, Discover, the American Scholar, the Atlantic Monthly, People, Entertainment Weekly, DownBeat, and Billboard.
Back to JAZZ TOUR info
“Gordon, Thanks a million for the fabulous Harlem jazz experience you mastered so wonderfully! I wish all my colleagues from the UN could hear your charming stories and insights, or the fantastic jam sessions you gave us the chance to enjoy in some cool clubs. My stay in New York would have been much poorer without this tour! Thanks for opening my eyes to the places where I can have the most authentic and thrilling jazz experiences!!! I’ll be back!”
"Thanks so much for putting together an unforgettable jazz evening in
Harlem . The group loved being able to take the A Train into Harlem (made
them feel adventuresome) as well as the outstanding dinner and music. I’m
really glad I stayed and had a chance to enjoy the speakeasy. Both
places, the dive and the speakeasy, sure had a great atmosphere and I
loved being able to hear such great music in such a small close-up
|"We had an amazing time in your beautiful city – made even more amazing because of the time we spent with you. The tour was absolutely fantastic, and not just because of the places and people we saw – but because of you and the personal touch you gave to Harlem . We will definitely rave to everyone about our time in New York and all the awesome things we did and saw – but right up at the top of our brag list will be our Wednesday night in Harlem! Thanks again for an absolutely fantastic experience!!" ~me and the lads! Trace Tidd, London, England|
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"...thank you for last
Monday night and the invaluable tips which you gave us. I was a bit
suspicious at the outset of our contact as I thought I could find out most
or all things from the internet. But, there is in fact, nothing which
surpasses local knowledge...There are venues around town that are tourist
traps and there are other venues that involve the real thing presented by
real people...I want to tell you about our experiences because I am so
excited by them..."
"Thank you so much for guiding me to that fantastic Monday Night Harlem Jam.
Without your help I could have never been exposed to such a wonderful true
jazz experience like that in my life. I now know what is the real jazz , the
music and the atmosphere."
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"It was a dream come true for Matt as he ably played his sax with the outstanding musicians assembled. He will never forget his many solos and especially the extremely warm reception." ~Jim Kane (Matt's Father) - Auburn, MA
to meeting and listening to some great characters the evening had a real bonus
in that I enjoyed your company so much. Thanks again for a great night."
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"Your tailor-made tour of jazz clubs was the
indisputable highlight of our visit to New York."
"When I tell people about the tour, I find that I am talking about you and your style as much as the music." ~Nat Carney, York, PA
"These places we went
to...there is no way we would have seen these places without you. We want
everybody to know that this tour is a must."
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"We are back
in British Columbia, and just want to write to thank you, and tell you how
much we enjoyed our evening in Harlem. What a great experience and one we
will remember. We stayed later at the last club and it was indeed a rich
evening of superb talent and atmosphere. All four venues were excellent
choices and gave us a nice taste of the deep and diverse - an enviable -
music culture of Harlem. We know that we hardly scratched the
surface but we felt 'more in tune' with the scene than if we had attempted
it ourselves. We were also really happy to meet you personally -- thank
you for sharing your knowledge of the area and jazz history... not to
mention your limousine service. We had a great night! You live in an
amazing city, and the people are exceptional, you included. Thanks again
for the great night in Harlem!"
"...Gordon proved to be so thoroughly knowledgeable of jazz locales and players that he could attune the tour to our personal tastes and experience with jazz...The others in our group of Philadelphia doctors, lawyers and professors thoroughly subscribe to the above." ~Dr. Jack Dobbyn - Philadelphia, PA
Reservations: Email: Gordon@BigAppleJazz.com Phone: (718) 606-8442
Back to JAZZ TOUR info
|This is a unique opportunity for seasoned fans and for the curious. New York City is the undisputed world capital of jazz. The New York music scene offers the world's top players in several clubs seven nights a week. N Y jazz fans are treated to an assortment of outstanding choices nightly: From the upscale Village venues such as Blue Note, to the vintage Harlem night clubs such as Lenox Lounge. You can experience the excitement of catching many performances around town in a single night -- often finding top players at after-hours jam sessions till 4:00 AM or later if you know where to go. Our service provides the guides and solves your transportation needs -- from individuals to large groups. Our expert consultants can also advise you where to go and how to get there if you're on a tight budget.|
Consultations -- for the do-it-yourselfers
who seek advice.
Terms and Conditions -- Payment options, cancellation policy, refunds.
Member NYC & Company (formerly known as
The New York Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Unique Holiday and Birthday Gifts
For the jazz fan in your life.
Gallery of photos
|Some people prefer to hit the
streets on their own. We
applaud that spirit and would like to offer our assistance. As far
as we know, there is no other service set up to help the New York
visitor with unbiased advice on where to go and how to get there.
Let us help you maximize your New York City jazz adventure by providing
the current information that no guide book or website could ever hope to
The Consultation Process Step by Step:
1- E-mail us with your desired tour dates in New York City.
2- Let us know if you are interested in a particular style of jazz, or not.
3- Feel free to ask any initial questions.
4- We will set up a phone meeting for the consultation, or email you with the results of our research.
5- This usually lasts an hour and is payable by check or credit card.
General New York City Sightseeing
We provide just the right touch for
-- all languages
EMAIL or call to make
your reservations today
sample 4-Hour Itinerary
any Midtown Hotel
Copyright © 1997-2014 Gordon Polatnick / Big Apple Jazz. All Rights Reserved.
Phone: (718) 606-8442
3:00PM - 8:00PM
Highlights: We enjoy live music in 3 jazz clubs,
see dozens of historic sites with a licensed jazz tour guide, savor great inexpensive soul
food (pay extra), ride in a luxury mini-bus, and of
course meet great people. Read more, check
availability and buy tickets:
NOTE: This tour runs less frequently, but please call if you have a large group that would like to book this tour on the Sunday of your choice. Call Gordon to make arrangements: (718) 606-8442.
Highlights: We Take the A Train uptown to Sugar Hill and get immersed in the neighborhood jazz scene visiting at least 2 intimate clubs (often 3) with your licensed jazz guide. Hear excellent music and have the opportunity to get up and jam with the band. Inexpensive, tasty soul food and drinks are extra. Sometimes we run across internationally loved jazz giants just hanging out or even jumping up on stage to join the session unannounced. Read more, check availability and buy tickets: Harlem Juke Joint Crawl
Village Jazz Crawl:
Mon. & Sat. Walking (crawling) Tour: 4-hours. There is a section of the Village that played host to Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and Billie Holiday in the 30's; Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and Charlie Parker in the 50's; John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, and Donald Byrd in the 60's. And today the hottest jazz players in the world circulate among a dozen or so underground clubs where the music never stops. Three clubs are included in this action packed walking tour.
Legends of Jazz Tour. With too many great players and clubs to choose from, this tour takes you right to the hand-picked show of the night, and follows that with a second set in a hidden jazz haunt to hear our choice for the show that shouldn't be missed featuring one of New York's legends of tomorrow. 4-Hours. $129.00
A third set in a third venue is added for those who have not had enough.