Village Vanguard

This blog was largely inspired by my first visit to the legendary Village Vanguard.  I had gone last October for the opening night of Fabian Almazan’s album release show and just returned this weekend for the Mark Turner Quartet.

There are two tiny stalls with just enough room for the toilets in each.  They are smaller than those little closets converted into an extra shower/toilet/sink in Korean apartments and smaller than ones on aircrafts.  My short legs somehow fit in there but if you’re average height or taller, I’m not sure that you could sit on the toilet.   The stall would have been way more functional if they just made one larger stall (which would still be a small stall), rather than two claustrophobic ones.  I would avoid using the restroom here.  But they did have large mirrors and sinks with soap so it’s great to wash your hands.  I’m a bit frustrated because the photos above don’t really give you a sense of how cramped they really are.

The men’s room correspondent, Kevin Mac, gives us the inside scoop on the male bathroom.  The stall seems a lot more spacious than the ones in the ladies room.  Plus, as KMac mentioned repeatedly with a tinge of awe, Elvin Jones shat in there.  I did not know that “shat” was even a word, and the past tense of a vulgar word at that, until I looked it up just now.



Fabian Almazan’s show back in October featured his trio with string quartet.  I would sit near the back and not on the side, close to the stage, so that I could get a better balance and hear the entire ensemble next time.  When I met Fabian a few years ago, he told me to look down for graffiti on the red line between 86th to 96th if I’m ever in New York, and used the red candle on the table as a mnemonic so that I would remember.  Funny—I didn’t know then that I would be living here, going on that very metro line regularly.

Mark Turner’s quartet of Avishai Cohen (trpt), Joe Martin (bass) and Marcus Gilmore (drums) is already a blur in my mind but I recall that it could be described as sounding somewhat meditative and the openness of the sax/trpt harmonies, without a comping instrument, was beautiful.

We had some time to kill before the show and didn’t want to be out in the rain so we got gelato across the street from the Vanguard.  It’s the best gelato I’ve had!  I also went to Smalls that night so I’ll make a post on that later this week.  And now, here’s how to say, “Where is the restroom?” in Portuguese.  Click the link below to listen to the phrase —

Onde fica o banheiro?