Queens boasts a long-held jazz tradition and has been home to countless legends, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. Flushing Town Hall has honored this legacy by bringing jazz programming to Queens for decades—and will now present the genre in a rare, high-quality format at its Hot Club Jazz Listening Session on September 22.
Starting in France in the 1930s, “hot clubs” were like book clubs for jazz listening—fans would get together and play hot jazz records for each other to enjoy and even study. Today, the “neo-hot club” movement offers an opportunity to hear classic jazz records on their original 78 RPM format, which provides the best possible sound.
The Hot Club at Flushing Town Hall will be led by jazz expert and former WKCR radio host Ben Young in the intimate atmosphere of one of the venue’s smaller rooms, where he will play rare records from his own collection on a high-quality 78 turntable with a specially designed preamplifier. All the hot club sessions will focus on jazz from the 1920s to the 1950s, before 45s and LPs became the new recording standards. All the recordings are rare—78s are no longer manufactured. Some recordings are by more well-known artists, like Benny Goodman or Louis Armstrong, while others are by less-remembered geniuses.
“The hot club scene at its best gives us a chance to review the masterpieces of jazz, frame them with the stories of the artists and the times, field questions to contextualize the music, and maybe replay a solo to accentuate the details and craft,” says Ben Young “Most of all, it’s a great way to connect with great music and others who dig the sounds.”
“We’re honored to be part of the growing neo-hot club movement, led by Phil Schaap of WKCR, Melissa Jones, and a number of other jazz experts. I’m not a record collector myself, but I can tell you the music sounds amazing in this format!” says Flushing Town Hall Deputy Director Sami Abu Shumays.
Jazz lovers of all ages are invited to attend, bring jazz 78s from their own collections for the open-spin at beginning and end of the session, and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of those who share a passion for this great music, heard at its best!
For 40 years, Flushing Town Hall has celebrated jazz’s history, founding the Queens Jazz Orchestra starring NEA Jazz Masters, publishing a Queens Jazz Trail map, and holding monthly Jazz Jams, where novice and experienced artists come to jam together.
Attendance is free, with no RSVP required. A second listening session will be held on Saturday, November 23. For questions, contact the box office at (718) 463-7700 x222.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd. in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.