Just off the corner of Houston Street and LaGuardia Place, where the West Village meets SoHo, a short flight of stairs below street level, the Zinc Bar may very well be as close in size and spirit to a ‘50s 52nd Street jazz club as one is now likely to ever find in this city. Not much more than a sliver of a room, the Zinc has nevertheless played a large role in keeping the future of the music bright in an area where constantly rising real estate values have all but banished the bohemian aura that once defined the neighborhood.
The Zinc Bar is not a jazz club per se. It’s more than that. The room presents a melting pot of music - African, Brazilian and AfroCuban - along with jazz. But it is the free spirit of jazz that defines the
excitement of all of the sounds that emanate from the crowded space between the bar and the back of the wall that separates the rest rooms from what serves as the bandstand. With a drum kit jammed into the
corner and the piano intruding into the waitress
station, there is barely enough room for a quartet, but on some nights percussionists spill out into the seats and horn players line the lane of the club.