Bill’s Place in Harlem Bringing Bebop Back Home | NY Times


Bill's Place - Harlem - Billie Holiday

Near the front door is a tribute to Billie Holiday, who is said to have been “discovered” while performing at age 17 in a supper club in what is now the Saxtons’ building. (Photo: Karsten Moran | NY Times)

Around 8 p.m. on a recent Saturday, a few dozen people were gathered in a narrow, dimly lit Harlem brownstone. Couples smoked in the backyard beneath Christmas lights; a group of Chilean expats sought a corkscrew; a man and his young son searched for seats.

From the basement downstairs, Bill Saxton, a bebop saxophonist, could hear the anticipatory chatter. All these people had come to his place. A few minutes later, standing with his band in the tiny parlor, he honked his sax loudly. The track lights dimmed.

“Welcome to Bill’s Place,” he told the crowd.

Every Friday and Saturday night, 148 West 133rd Street becomes a B.Y.O.B. jazz club that is perhaps the only underground spot left in a neighborhood that once teemed with them. Mr. Saxton boasts that visitors come from all over the world, drawn by word of mouth (and, increasingly, reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor).

Read more: Bill’s Place in Harlem Bringing Bebop Back Home –

Check out the great video below on Bill’s Place courtesy of Channel Thirteen.

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