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The final push to save New York jazz club Birdland will be a Benefit Concert on Sunday, January 24 at 7pm. The event line-up includes former President Bill Clinton, Randy Rainbow, Elvis Costello, Leslie Odom Jr, Wynton Marsalis, and Chita Rivera.
The original club, named after Charlie Parker, opened in 1949 — but this iteration has been operating for the last thirty-five-year under the ownership of Gianni Valenti. Tom and Michael D’Angora launched a GoFundMe with a goal of $250,000 to save “The Jazz Corner Of The World” earlier this month. They have currently raised over $230,000 — less than $20,000 short of that target.
Others confirmed to take part in the concert include Clive Davies, Matthew Broderick, Ken Burns, Peter Cincotti, Giancarlo Esposito, Jeff Daniels, Melissa Leo, Norm Lewis, Manhattan Transfer, Bebe Neuwirth, Mandy Patinkin, John Pizzarelli, Martha Plimpton, Mercedes Ruehl, Catherine Russell, Billy Stritch and Veronica Swift.
Jim Caruso is excited at the prospect: “The enthusiasm the community has shown the club with the GoFundMe campaign is overwhelming and invigorating. Fingers crossed we will re-open, and the music and joy pouring out onto W44 Street will be historic!”
Gianni Valenti has been uplifted by the show of support: “I’m feeling more relieved and I’m more in love with the community, with the people that have shown their support with the outpouring of love, not only for Birdland, but for live music venues and for New York City. I don’t have deep pockets. I need some help to get there because I’ve covered the last 10 months of all the expenses personally with no money coming into the club and I don’t know if I can last until reopening. Without this help, I didn’t know what was going to happen with Birdland. This gives us a bridge to get to when the governor says that we can reopen and to make sure that we’re there strong enough and ready to go.”
The concert will be hosted on the Save Birdland website. You can check there for performer and schedule updates.