This Big Apple Jazz tour stands out as the essential way to hear outstanding classic jazz music played by the world's best musicians in an itinerary that selects the most soulful stars in town.
- We start out the evening with a supper club for you to enjoy a great meal with our first set of live music. Your jazz tour guide will help set the scene by informing you of the players and their historical significance.
- Next, join your jazz guide for an additional set in a more intimate club setting featuring some of the Big Apple's future jazz legends. Your jazz guide will hand pick for you the most exciting off-the-beaten-path neighborhood club for that particular night. Like jazz music itself, every time you experience this tour it will be different. Because there is so much great music to choose from, the itinerary will attempt to capture a variety of styles with an ear toward soulful and lyrical playing and/or singing. In this way, all guests, regardless of their experience listening to jazz, will be able to fully enjoy the music.
What Is Not Included?
A third set in a third venue is not included, but is available as an add-on to this tour.
- Is advanced purchase required? Can I pay cash?
- Advance purchase is strongly encouraged as tours often sell out in advance. If you do not have a credit card and need to pay in cash, you can buy tickets at the meeting spot only if there is still room, and your spots will not be guaranteed in advance! To ensure your attendance, please book online or over the phone using a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.
- Will we stop for food?
- There will be ample time set aside for group members to enjoy a delicious full meal or snacks at the first of the two jazz venues we'll be visiting. The cost of food/drinks is not included in the ticket price. This first venue accepts credit cards. The second venue we visit may or may not have food available, and may or may not accept credit cards, so it is suggested to have cash on hand.
- Are food and drinks included in the tour price?
- No, but food and drinks will be available for purchase.
- How is this tour different from the other tours?
- Many of our other tours are focused on Harlem, while this one is focused on the downtown scene, and strives to see living legends of jazz.
- Is there an age restriction for this tour?
- This tour is best suited for participants ages 18 and over. However, exceptions can be made on a case by case basis. To find out if you can bring a participant under age 18, please click on the "Contact NewYorkJazz" link and let us know about your particular situation. Someone will get back to you shortly!
- Where will the tour begin and end?
- The tour begins at a hotel bar/restaurant in the Kips Bay region located to the east of Madison Square Park. This meeting place is accessible by subways (N/R/6), buses, cabs, and has free street parking, as well as garages available if you're driving. The exact meeting location details will be provided upon ticket purchase. The tour will end in another area determined by which second jazz club we visit. The tour guide will offer assistance with hailing a cab or directing you to the correct subway needed to get you where you're going.
- Are cameras allowed?
- Photography, if allowed at the first club we visit, should be done discreetly and without use of flash. At the second club, you will be more free to photograph, but discretion should be used at all times not to distract musicians and other patrons.
- Is there a dress code?
- There is absolutely no dress code. This tour involves walking for a block or two, so sensible shoes are recommended. Your guide will be dressed neatly and comfortably, and trying to look halfway cool. No jackets or pearls are required. Since we are visiting one nicer venue and one "come as you are" venue, you should dress so you feel comfortable in both places.
- How long is the tour?
- This tour lasts around 4 hours. If you need to meet the tour in progress, or leave before it ends, that is fine. You will be given your guide's cell phone number so you can make those arrangements.
- How long will we be at each club?
- It can vary a little, but generally we will be at the first club for about two hours and the second club for about an hour and a half. The remaining half hour would be spent in transit (usually via taxi, the cost of which is included in the tour).
- How much walking is there on the tour?
- There will be some minor walking involved--one or two blocks. The walking is not strenuous and should be easy for any tour participant.
- Is there time to do some shopping during the tour?
- No, the tour doesn't have any stops for shopping, but there are usually CDs for sale of the musicians we'll be hearing. Some clubs sell memorabilia.
- Will there be restrooms available?
- Yes. The first will be more wonderful than the second. That is the first jazz club will be finer than the second one.
- Can I come late or leave early?
- It is possible to attend the tour late or leave early, provided that you can meet up with or leave the tour at a location on its predetermined route. To see if your request fits into our route, please click on the "Contact NewYorkJazz" link and let us know what you'd prefer. Otherwise, we'd be happy to direct you to a nearby subway station or cab if you need to leave early!
- Can I bring food or drinks?
- No, please do not bring snacks or drinks into the clubs. Remember that there will be food and drink available for purchase at the clubs we visit!
- Is the tour wheelchair accessible?
- Unfortunately, stairs and rampless clubs are often visited so the tour is not wheelchair accessible. We recommend clicking the "Contact NewYorkJazz" link to arrange for a private tour to appropriate clubs using appropriate transportation.
- Can I bring luggage or large personal items with me?
- This is not recommended due to space limitations in jazz clubs. Special accommodations can be made on a case by case basis.
- Are there any cover charges I'll have to pay?
- There are no cover charges that you are responsible for at any of the places we visit. However, there will be the opportunity to tip the performers in the second club, so please keep that in mind!
- Do you sell gift certificates?
- Yes, and they make a great gift for any special occasion! To request a gift certificate, please click on the "Contact NewYorkJazz" link.
- Can I do a private tour?
- Yes, we do have private tours available for groups or individuals, and they can be customized according to your preferences. To request a private tour, please click on the "Contact NewYorkJazz" link and let us know what you're interested in doing! Our guide service extends to any touring idea you have, in any language and for almost any budget - pricing starts at $300 for 4-hours of guide service. Consultatons for do it yourselfers start at $75/hour.
- Can tickets for the 3rd set option be purchased on the night of the tour.
- These tickets for the 3rd set do not have to be purchased in advance. There is a small chance that without prior reservation, a 3rd set will not be available - it will be up to the tour guide's discretion. Only cash payments for the 3rd set will be accepted on the night of the tour.
Big Apple Jazz Tours
"This tour, hosted by New York jazz expert Gordon Polatnick, is the real deal for jazz buffs." ~ Brian Silverman, Frommer's New York City 2009 & New York City For Dummies
Big Apple Jazz has been featured in major TV, Radio, Newpaper, and Magazines around the world such as:
New York Times; NBC-TV; NY1 NEWS TV; Toni On! New York, London Times (UK); All About Jazz; New York; Associated Press; NYC-TV show: $9.99; NY Daily News; Toronto Star, Finnair's Blue Wings, CKUA-FM Calgary, New York Living and Live Door News.
"...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
"I live near NYC and I thought I'd seen it all. This was probably the best tour and musical event I've ever been to. You will never have this much fun in Manhattan. Going to Harlem on this tour is a must!" ~ Claiborne, New York