As a recent NYU graduate and a music lover I cannot live without live music — I absolutely love it! So as you can imagine I was in my own corner of heaven with legendary NYC venues such as the Village Underground, The Blue Note, Café Wha, SOB’s and countless others all within walking distance of my University in the Village. Live music was literally on every corner and I was able to see great bands for free or really cheap any night of the week. Most nights involved leaving class at 9pm to head over to a venue for a 10pm show, taking a 2 am cab ride home to my Harlem brownstone on 145th St. and Convent Ave., and collapsing in the bed only to get up and do it all over again the next day.
Fast forward to today, nine months after graduation. Though I still visit the Village occasionally, I find myself wanting more and more to socialize in Harlem! The search was on for live music spots in Harlem, not just any spot though; it had to be a venue worthy of top musicians, vocalists, and music aficionados. I was looking for a venue that captured the same excitement that I found in the Village, where you never knew who may show up and grace the audience with their talent. I was looking for a venue that I could go to and discover the next big thing or hear my favorite artist perform on a whim.
Join me on this journey. Once a month, I’ll let you in on my findings. We’ll discover new artists together, indie artists that are playing Harlem venues, Harlem bred artists, album releases, artist showcases and much more! I can’t leave you hanging for this month though, here are a few venues for live music showcases that I’m feeling these days: The Shrine, Creole Restaurant, Jazz Café, and Gospel Uptown. Be sure to follow this column next month, as I share with you about a new album release coming out from one of my favorite independent soul artists. I know you’re going to dig his sound. Until then, keep searching for music off the beaten path; good music is worth searching for!
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Gabby Cudjoe is a former A&R representative from Music World Entertainment and the founder of Brydge Media Collective, a publicity and events company based in Harlem, NY. She is a graduate of Hampton University and NYU. She also hosts a neo soul gospel showcase every fourth Sunday at Gospel Uptown called Brydge Media Collective Presents: Turnstyle Sundays.