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The Lenox Lounge, A Place That Matters

The Lenox Lounge at 288 Lenox Ave. in Harlem. Operated continuously since 1941, except for a seven-month interruption for renovation in 1999-2000, the Lenox Lounge is one of New York’s historic jazz clubs. Alvin Reid, Sr. found the club a bit too elegant for his taste when he first encountered it as a youngster in the 1950s. But when he bought it from the Greco family in 1988, he thought a revived Lenox Lounge would be just the thing to revitalize his beloved neighborhood and its signature music at one and the same time. It hasn’t been easy. Locals use the club as a hang-out more than a place to hear live music, and the ratio of tourists to residents in the famous Zebra Room is not what Reid hoped for. But the author of our new profile on the Lenox Lounge, a young jazz vocalist herself, has discovered that the Sunday and Monday night jam sessions — where jazz veterans and up-and-comers meet – are continuing the legacy of jazz as “exciting entertainment, creative art form, and collective learning process.”