“The Jazz Corner of the World”…needs your help

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"The Jazz Corner of the World"...needs your help

Each day we hear about the closing of yet another favorite restaurant or fabulous nightspot.

This past week, my heart sank when I heard that famed jazz club Birdland is on the brink of shuttering. Birdland is one of the swankiest places in town, with a new elegant space designed for intimate performances just a floor below the main club. Established in 1949, Birdland has lived many lives in various locations, but it has been happily ensconced on West 44th Street for many years.

Jazz stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and Miles Davis are just some of the headliners who have passed through the hallowed doors.

And the celebrities who frequented the club! It’s a Who’s Who of stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Marlene Dietrich. But the lifeblood of the Birdland clientele is just people who love live performance, from jazz to Broadway. Millions have had the pleasure of seeing live music there, enjoying its fine menu and socializing with other musicophiles.

Now, during the pandemic, Birdland is not permitted to open its doors. So many months in without patrons, this New York mainstay is wounded and on its last legs.

Owner Gianni Valenti is doing his best to keep it going and has just launched a Go Fund Me campaign, hoping to raise $250,000 to pay bills and provide some financial resources for some of his staff.

You can help to keep the lights on at this treasured jazz mecca. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Click here to donate.

You can hear my conversation with Gianni and other people from the performance industry on this Sunday’s Bagels and Broadway radio show on WNYM-AM Radio from 2-3 PM. The podcast is posted following the broadcast.


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at www.valeriesmaldone.com

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