All that jazz at Lincoln Center

For an aspiring aficionado, jazz can be quite an intimidating musical genre. Despite its laid back, spontaneously syncopated, warm and welcoming vibes, immersing oneself amongst impossibly informed enthusiasts and those untouchably cool cats can be a few steps out of your comfort zone.

And for most students barely getting by, finding a jazz club in New York City can be more than a few bucks over their slim budget. The renowned Blue Note jazz club on West 3rd is a hefty $35 for table reservations plus a minimum. The circa-1935 Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village can range from $25 to $30 just to get through the door, which begs the question: what exactly are you paying for – the music, the atmosphere, or the culinary selection?

For those of us willing to face the music and adventurously dance our way into a night at a jazz club, fear no more: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is your answer. Located at Frederick P. Rose Hall’s Jazz at Lincoln Center (part of the Time-Warner building in Columbus Circle), it has all those bases covered, with a sweet student discount to boot. The most expensive sets are $15 and only $5 to get into the after-hours sets, with simply a flash of your student ID. There is a $5 dollar minimum if you are seated at a barstool, $10 at a table; not a problem with a menu of “B” sides like cornbread, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries, and collard greens at 5 bucks a pop, or 3 for $12.

With money matters out of the way, it is time to enjoy your surroundings. Dizzy’s Club (named after famed jazz artist John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie) is a feast for the eyes. After proceeding through a hallway pop-art trumpet mural, the warm colors of the club’s interior will immediately envelop you. Barstools hug an undulating wall. Tables are arranged right up to the low stage,
translating into a very intimate setting. Dimly lit, the real visual aesthetic is the club’s backdrop: Columbus Circle, and beyond-Central Park.

As for the final component, the music at Dizzy’s is a steal for the amount of money you’re not paying. Mid-August marked the celebration of “The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz.” Jobim and Getz were notable contributors to the Bossa nova movement (a combination of a Brazilian samba rhythm and a harmonic jazz structure). Performing their works were the Trio da Paz: Joe Locke (on the vibes), Maucha Adnet (vocals), and Harry Allen (tenor sax), accompanied by guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta, and Duduka da Fonseca on the drums. The interplay of the instrumentalists was harmonious and playful, complimented by Adnet’s warm vocalizations. They each had their own style of expression, Locke’s antics on the vibe stealing the show. As Adnet swayed a soft samba, her treble clef necklace acted as a seductive metronome. The acoustics were remarkable – even the softest of pianissimo’s could be felt, and the shock value of sforzando’s doubly resonated within.

All in all, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is a haven for jazz lovers. Perfect for your pocket, it’s a great spot for a night on the town with friends or a cozy romantic evening. Just remember to make reservations, as seating is at a premium