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Smalls Paradise

Smalls Paradise (often erroneously called Small's Paradise and Smalls' Paradise, and not to be confused with Smalls Jazz Club), located in the basement of 2294 Seventh Avenue near 135th Street, was a nightclub in Harlem, New York City, owned by Ed Smalls, that opened in 1925.[1] Later owned by Wilt Chamberlain, it was renamed Big Wilt's Smalls Paradise; it closed in 1986.[2]

Not quite as famous as the Cotton Club, but many famous black musicians played there. Of negro nightclubs it was the preferred hangout for authors. Malcolm X is reported to have frequented it,[3][4] as is Langston Hughes.[5] The Cotton Club was white owned and only admitted white patrons; Smalls Paradise was black owned and one of the few mixed-race venues in the city.[6]

It had dancing waiters, sometimes on roller skates,[7] and was said to have the only working air-conditioning in Harlem.[8] It would not close until well into the next day, having "breakfast dances". The Floor Show was at 6 AM.[9]

Among the notable musicians who performed at Smalls Paradise are Charlie Johnson and the Paradise Ten, Earl Bostic, Hot Lips Page, Rod Piazza ("Live at Small's [sic] Paradise", LP, 1969), Jimmy Smith ("Groowin' at Smalls' [sic] Paradise", 2 LPs, 1957,[10] "Cool Blues", LP, recorded in 1958 but not released until 1974),[11] whose drummer was Donald Bailey, Monette Moore, King Curtis ("Live at Small's [sic] Paradise", LP, 1966), Lonnie Youngblood,[12] Babs Gonzales ("Sunday Afternoon with Babs Gonzales at Small's [sic] Paradise", CD, 2004), Millie Jackson,[13] George "Harmonica" Smith, Pee Wee Crayton, and J. D. Nicholson, the last three recorded with Rod Piazza on "Live at Small's [sic] Paradise", LP, 1986.[14] Various videos filmed at Smalls Paradise are available on YouTube.

References

  1. ^ Documentation for the spelling of the name is an original "souvenir" of the club, reproduced at http://harlemculturalarchives.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2416266%3ABlogPost%3A866&commentId=2416266%3AComment%3A1004, retrieved 4/11/2015, and a photograph of the original marquée, reproduced at "Small's [sic] Paradise, Harlem, 1925", http://harlemworldmag.com/smalls-paradise-harlem-1925/, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  2. ^ A. G. Sulzberger, "A Sign Recalled a Vanished Jazz Era in Harlem; Then the Sign Vanished, Too", New York Times July 7, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/nyregion/08apple.html, retrieved 4/14/2015.
  3. ^ Marcus Samuelsson, "Is Harlem 'Good' Now?", New York Times, February 15, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/is-harlem-good-now.html?_r=0, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  4. ^ Kevin Baker, "Jitterbug Days," New York Times, January 22, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/nyregion/thecity/22feat.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1428793225-rLXYg8B6dJ5L1093j/TMTA, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  5. ^ TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: Smalls Paradise", February 5, 2011, http://keepingupwiththejones-markjones.blogspot.com/2011/02/today-in-black-history-smalls-paradise.html, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  6. ^ Joan Kanel Slomanson, "Racian Divisions in Harlem", New York Times, January 29, 2006, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9507EED7113FF93AA15752C0A9609C8B63, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  7. ^ TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: Smalls Paradise", February 5, 2011, http://keepingupwiththejones-markjones.blogspot.com/2011/02/today-in-black-history-smalls-paradise.html, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  8. ^ Kevin Baker, "Jitterbug Days," New York Times, January 22, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/nyregion/thecity/22feat.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1428793225-rLXYg8B6dJ5L1093j/TMTA, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  9. ^ TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: Small's Paradise", February 5, 2011, http://keepingupwiththejones-markjones.blogspot.com/2011/02/today-in-black-history-smalls-paradise.html, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  10. ^ Spelling from picture of the cover, http://www.amazon.com/Groovin-Smalls-Paradise-Jimmy-Smith/dp/B00000K4GL, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  11. ^ Ben Ratliff, "Jimmy Smith, Jazz Organist and Pioneer, Is Dead at 76", New York Times, February 10, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/10/arts/music/10smith.html, retrieved 4/15/2015.
  12. ^ Sherri Day, "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: HARLEM -- CITYPEOPLE; Hendrix's Old Boss, a Sax King, Sends Souls Heavenward", New York Times, November 5, 2000, http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/05/nyregion/neighborhood-report-harlem-citypeople-hendrix-s-old-boss-sax-king-sends-souls.html, retrieved 4/11/2015.
  13. ^ See es:Millie Jackson
  14. ^ http://home.online.no/~frodebye/rod_piazza/lp_live_small_paradise.htm, retrieved 4/11/2015.