REVIEW OF THE MONTH
“A fascinating insight into a wonderful world”
of a kind. Utterly indescribable...
References for Big Apple Jazz Tours
Thank you again for a wonderful
experience......even better than I imagined. Your knowledge and
enthusiasm, and all of the affection that the community has for you, was
Dear Gordon, Catherine and I thoroughly enjoyed our jazz excursion with you. Also, we couldn't get over the fact that we had seen the musical FELA and that you had actually met the man and been in his club! It validated the whole show experience for us. Sincerely, Carol. P.S. Catherine will be contacting you relating to her birthday gift for Ike. ~ Carol T., Bethesda, MD
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Big Apple Jazz
Quick Quotes of Praise
|Gordon Polatnick moved back to New York City in 1995 and was immediately bitten by the jazz bug. Soon after, he developed West Miles Disease and has been scratching that itch all over town in search of improvisational healing. Gordon invites the curious jazz novice and the aficionado alike to let the good times roll, and discover the hidden jazz haunts of New York City any night of the week.|
|You call the tune! Some nights we see straight ahead jazz jams in Harlem with a soul food chaser; on other occasions it's vocalists evoking a bygone era; swing bands, trios, avant-garde -- whatever you please. I hope to make you feel more like a personal guest than a passive tourist as we gallivant around the most extraordinary city on the planet. ~ GP|
"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
"These places we went to, we would have never been able to find them on our own, there is no way we would have seen these places without you. We want everybody to know that this tour is a must." ~Adrian Stoppelman and Graciela Rodriguez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
"Hi Gordon, A big thanks for the Jazz tour of Harlem last Friday night. Those cats were wailin', and It was everything I wanted, you too were a great host. " ~Keith, New Zealand
"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
"It could not have been more perfect. Linda and I both count it as one of our top musical experiences, ever!" ~Dr. Georgia Tangi Columbus, OH
"Kris had the time of her life and continues to rave about "rubbing elbows" with the truly literate jazz folks. We had the best time and you were the best tour guide ever." ~Cynthia Hoff, Austin, TX
The visit to Harlem and our time at the Parlor was for jazz lovers, the whole experience was very earthy, soulful and so sensual. ~Michael Zinck and Raymonde Vautour, Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, Canada
"Your tailor-made tour of jazz clubs was the indisputable highlight of our visit to New York." ~Kees Broekhof Trombonist and jazz enthusiast, Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
"We continue to have vivid memories of the great talent and ability of James Carter and the other fine jazz musicians at St. Nick's Pub. To have been able to witness such talent and originality was a moment we will treasure!" ~Martha and John Roediger, South Portland, ME
"Your service of linking my preference for polyrhythmic jazz with the Ari Hoenig trio was well worth the money. It was exactly what I was looking for, and far exceeded my expectations. There is no way I could have found such an unknown player (or the nearly invisible 55-Club) on my own." ~ Ray and Sharon Hill, San Jose, CA
"I want to thank you the splendid jazz night you made us spend at Harlem. It was really more than we expected -- good music in non tourist circuits. I think this is the best way to stay in NY." ~Mariflor Aguilar, Mexico City
"Enjoyed the tour last Friday night. Especially happy that we went to the bar in Harlem. The music there was monumental." ~ Raylene Dill Erie, PA
Thanks, Gordon, for a tremendous 5 hours so well spent listening to some great musicians. I must say though, more than getting to visit these great historical jazz venues, was just experiencing the jazz culture of N.Y....It was so refreshing for me to practically rub shoulders with the musicians...Anyway, Gordon, I am certainly glad that I was able to hook up with you. You have so much knowledge and understanding of the jazz scene. I especially enjoyed cruising through Harlem and your pointing out those historical tidbits. The "Tree of Hope" story really stuck with me! ~Cal, Honolulu, HI
"...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
"In addition 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 out." ~Brain Mate, Stoke on Trent - England
"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
"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." ~Osamu - Chiba, Japan
"I just wanted to write and thank you again for a most memorable evening on the tour last Saturday night. I appreciate you coming out, despite the lack of a crowd. I am still twirling images and sounds in my mind of the 1st club in particular- the way the 1st "guest" could just stand up and scat beautifully, the energy of people making music together in such an intimate way. Thank you for giving me and others, a window into this rich world." ~ Krista Nelson, St. Paul, MN
"...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..."
"Your knowledge and help was invaluable and exactly what I needed. I was very lucky to discover you. Can't wait to come back again and experience some more. ~Thanks," Dave Campbell, Bay Area, Calif.
"Thanks for the great work you did in providing me with a four night jazz itinerary. It allowed me to cover far more ground than I could have without your assistance and, more importantly, exposed me to excellent clubs and experiences that I would have missed otherwise." Ed Barnett, Paine/Wetzel Associates, Inc., Chicago, IL
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Big Apple Jazz Tour References
Your tailor-made tour of jazz clubs was the indisputable highlight of our visit to New York.
I can think of no better way to get acquainted with the New York jazz scene.
Regards from your Dutch connection,
How did my 16 year old son Matt and I end up in Tompkins Square Park at
the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival?! What a way to start off our tour! Matt
was so thrilled to listen to one of the best musicians in the land - Joe
Lovano. It was fitting that Charlie Parker's residence was right
across the street from the park.
To whom it may concern:
My friends and I were lucky enough to find Gordon on
the internet and arrange a personally guided tour of New York's best jazz
establishments. With no prior contact with Gordon I must say in total
honesty that 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.
Dr. Jack Dobbyn
Hello again Gordon,
New York is a special place to be at Christmas especially if you are a first time visitor. To visit New York at Christmas and have the opportunity to hear some jazz in the jazz capital of the world is the ultimate. I could have booked a set at the Village Vanguard or Birdland etc. but I wanted the opportunity to make my stay in New York really special. As a fan of nearly 40 years it was yet another highlight to visit the Harlem jazz nightspots to not only hear some great music with real atmosphere but also to see some of the sites of jazz history. In addition 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.
When we describe our visit to New York the evening with you is always a highlight. I did a lot of research but I never would have found the places you took us to. Thank you again for your help. I think you might want to rethink your prices though. It was beyond a bargain. I don't see how anyone could afford NOT to use your services.
Raymonde and I would like thank for the wonderful tour. We too were a little skeptical of what we were "buying" online, but you are all you claim to be and more.
We felt the service was very personal and personable. You took us out of the tourist traps and into the real haunts of jazz. The visit to Harlem and our time at the Parlor was for jazz lovers, the whole experience was very earthy, soulful and so sensual.
But let's not forget our jazz brunch in The Village which was super, we would never have found that restaurant on our own. Finally, what a great architectural tour you provided on the way from The Village to the Parlor. Jazz, architecture and food, does it get any better!
Michael Zinck and Raymonde Vautour
Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, Canada
My husband and I would like to thank
you for the experience we went through with you. That jazz tour we took with
you in New York was an amazing adventure. Those places we visited, the
whole atmosphere in them, the people performing, the environment...
everything was tops. And we thought we had seen jazz before!! We were
I just wanted to follow up and thank you so much for the wonderful experience David and I had with you on the Harlem Jazz Tour recently. We had a fabulous time that night. The memories are strong, clear and very happy. I have told a number of people about you and will continue to do so. I think the service you provide is unique and very good. I recall testimonials on your web site from former clients, let us know if we can be of any help in providing you with testimonials or other promotions.
Best to you and thank you again for a great time,
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.
Hopefully seeing you again.
Martha and John Roediger
Thank you for the wonderful time that Kristen and I had on our tour in July. Kris had the time of her life and continues to rave about "rubbing elbows" with the truly literate jazz folks. We had the best time and you were the best tour guide ever. Love your new site, great job, and hope that we can make it back there before she graduates from high school. She is well on her way to being a saxophone aficionado!
Regards and be well,
Just a short note to 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. Our contact has proved that to me and significantly enhanced what my wife and I have got out of this trip. There are venues around town that are tourist traps and there are other venues that involve the real thing presented by real people.
After our meeting last Monday, I followed up the Robin's Nest tip you gave us [to great advantage] and yesterday we went to the Parlour for an amazing session. I want to tell you about our experiences because I am so excited by them: As to Friday - we caught the subway to 125th St and headed off to Robin's Nest. I don't know if you know this, you probably do, but Robin's Nest is owned and run by the Hammond Organ player - the Preacher! He answered the telephone when I rang, and took the broom and dustpan to the front of the bar to do a bit of cleaning during the breaks, and then played the funkiest down home Hammond B3 Organ and sang to boot!
Well when Rosemary and I arrived we were feted like the second coming. They are obviously keen enthusiasts and prepared to welcome complete strangers to an intimate setting. We were the only white guys there - I felt privileged to be there. We were well looked after. The Preacher gave me an article on him and the venue which was published in the Harlem News - a paper not widely distributed in the tourist circles in which Rosemary and I have been moving!!! The music was HOT HOT funky soul jazz that goes straight to the testicles! A trumpet player sat in and blew the roof off the place. It was a very authentic jazz experience that left me reeling. When we left there, we headed to the Showman's Club just down the road.
On Sunday arvo we went to the Parlour and it was everything you said it would be. In fact, possibly more. The owner of the apartment had received some award for her civic mindedness and so this day was in honour of that and some benefactor was there to receive her thanks. He was given a telegram from Count Basie in the 1930s as a token of her gratitude. She spoke a bit about the building and the musicians who had lived there which was also amazing. I had to pinch myself to believe it was really happening. I will find it hard to describe this experience to my friends back home. We enjoyed the cordial and biscuits as well as the music. To hear the A Train played in Harlem at full throttle at the end of the gig, in a happy and spirited atmosphere, is an experience I know I will/may never enjoy again.
We have also caught some other stuff since we met last Monday: Jim Hall at V.V.; Charlie Hunter at Shine; a sax player called Andrew D'Angelo at Detour whose group featured an outstanding young drummer (21 years old) called Tim Keiper - watch out for him; Joey Baron/Derek Bailey at Tonic (the first of three gigs on Friday night!) and a Blue Note night with Nancy Wilson on Sat. night. Thanks again for your invaluable tips.
Regards, Best Wishes,
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