MAX GORDON CORNER, Greenwich Village

by Kevin Walsh

Max Gordon Corner, at 7th Avenue South, Perry Street and Waverly Place, celebrates the founder of the Village Vanguard jazz club, in front of which the photographer (me) is standing. Gordon (1903-1989)  founded the first Vanguard on Charles and Greenwich Streets in 1934, but moved to a former speakeasy at 178 7th Avenue South the following year. The club at first featured poetry readings, blues and jazz, but switched to an all-jazz format in 1957 and came to be the premier jazz venue in New York City, booking Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Jimmy Giuffre, Anita O’Day, Charlie Mingus, Bill Evans, Stan Getz and many more.

Before 1912, this part of town looked much different. 7th Avenue South wasn’t there — it was created when the IRT Subway was extended downtown.



Old Skool July 25, 2013 - 5:42 pm

I never met Max but am eternally in his debt for all the wonderful recordings done at the Vanguard. It is a shrine to America’s art form, Jazz.

Melinda Menke September 10, 2013 - 8:40 am

I am not sure whether the Max Gordon who founded the Villiage Vanguard is the same Max Gordon of Cole Porter fame that is mentioned here. I looked on the Village Vanguard website and it says that “Lorraine” inherited the space from her husband Max Gordon, however I do know that my great uncle Max was never married to a “Lorraine”. His wife was Millie who was a silent film star. He produced many Broadway shows and did start out in Vaudville with his two brothers. He was Austrian, not polish.

Melinda Menke September 10, 2013 - 8:45 am

There were 2 Max Gordons and Producer Max Gordon is a totally different person that the Villiage Vanguard founder.
Max Gordon (Village Vanguard founder)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Max Gordon (12 March 1903 – 11 May 1989) was a jazz promoter who founded the Village Vanguard jazz club in New York City.

Born in Lithuania, Gordon settled with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he later attended Reed College.

Defying his parents’ wishes that he become a lawyer, he moved to New York and eventually opened the Vanguard in 1935. The Vanguard initially offered comedy and poetry, segueing into folk music and jazz in the 1950s.[1]

­VIAF: 79410126·
­ISNI: 0000 0000 8397 1902

Kevin Walsh September 10, 2013 - 7:04 pm

Well, whaddaya know. I’ll fix the page.


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