Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Like all of you, The Iridium has some serious cabin fever and we can’t wait to be open again, bringing you that special blend of Iridium magic where we make history nightly.
First off, we want to thank all our amazing fans for your continued support- we’ve seen how many people are posting that they miss The Iridium- we’re honored to be part of so many lives and the countless friends we’ve made. Even if you’ve never been in (yet!) we appreciate your participation and interest in our posts, live streams and the lively debates on social media.
In short, we, can’t wait to be Back in The Saddle Again and Back in Black ahhh Aerosmith and AC/DC sounds so much better (sorry Phil...)
To that note we are hoping to be open again this summer and will have updates as we try to project when we can open again. We expect to get some clarity in May and will keep everyone up to date on our reopening.
We are trying to avoid being “the club that cries wolf” so we are trying to use our best guess, based on openings and what we determine to be the safest opening so that we can keep everyone staff and our friends healthy! But we are again started working to book an awesome lineup of acts which is a great sign. We’ll be doing more of the same- presenting the best musicians- big and small, if they kick ass, we want them. After all Les Paul’s excellence is in our DNA and proud we present one of the most diverse lineups anywhere. We ask that you please support all music venues as this is especially difficult time for all venues and we are only as strong as our community.
What has everyone been listening to? We’ve compiled a Spotify list to help you pass the time and wonder what everyone is listening to. Personally, I’ve also been walking 6-8 miles to keep from getting “the Covid 15” and struck by not only how quiet New York is but also how beautifully silent it can be as well....
Lest we forget- we lost a lot of incredible musicians over the last few month and want to remember some of them here and remind everyone that even though we are moving in the right direction, stay vigilant and safe!
Wallace Roney played many times at Iridium fronting his own groups and as special guest. The Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter and composer was 59 when he died of complications from COVID-19 on March 31. The musician began his long and celebrated career when he was 12. He had performed with Miles Davis and was also featured in Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool.
McCoy Tyner- With his rich, percussive playing, he gained notice with John Coltrane’s groundbreaking quartet, then went on to influence virtually every pianist in jazz. We had some amazing collaborations on The Iridium Stage. My favorite was his plays with Michael Brecker, Bobby Hutcherson and Charlie Haden. McCoy was unassuming and a true giant.
Bucky Pizzarelli- What can I say about Bucky? One of the most humble, funny and gracious musicians we had the pleasure to really get to know over the years. A good friend of Les Paul’s, he often played with Les at the club and we could always count on Bucky to carry the torch and play often with The Les Paul Trio after Les passed in 2009. A master of the subtle art of rhythm guitar as well as a gifted soloist, Mr. Pizzarelli was sought after for recording sessions in the 1950s and ’60s and can be heard on hundreds of records in various genres, although he was often uncredited. He also toured with Benny Goodman and was a longtime member of the “Tonight Show” orchestra. But he was little known to all but the most knowledgeable jazz fans until he was in his 40s.
John Prine- Americana legend and revered singer-songwriter John Prine died April 7 from complications of COVID-19. The two-time Grammy-winning artist was 73
Lee Konitz- Over the course of his seven-decade career, Konitz played with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Stan Kenton, and many others. One of the best Lee Konitz stories from Iridium is the night we had special guest Elvis Costello. Elvis shows up and I stupidly didn’t greet him right away when he walked in. The bass player who remains anonymous (hint in Keith Jarret’s Trio says he doesn’t play behind rock stars. Elvis storms off the stage and later calls me during first set and absolutely balls me out. I didn’t know whether to be honored over the rock star moment or really bummed out and there was a virtual riot in the club that night!
Ellis Marsalis- The New Orleans jazz patriarch died on April 1 at age 85. He is survived by six sons, four of whom are musicians: Pulitzer and Grammy winner Wynton; Grammy winner Branford; trombonist and producer Delfeayo; percussionist Jason; photographer Ellis III; and Mboya. But Ellis was an unassuming legend in his own right. We were lucky to have him at Iridium and the night Wynton sat in.
Bill Whithers- One of the truly great songwriters, “the music of Bill Withers radiated a quality that’s rare in pop songs and, really, anywhere else: selflessness. It’s in the subjects that Withers, who died recently, chose to sing about: his grandmother’s hard-won wisdom in “Grandma’s Hands,” the suicidal regrets of a failed husband in “Better Off Dead,” and in one of his most indelible songs, “Lean on Me,” a churchy pledge of unconditional help and compassion. Perhaps it was because Withers was already a grown-up, in his early 30s, when his recording career started.” Jon Pareles New York Times. We recently had a very cool tribute to Bill Withers at Iridium, lucky we got that off last year before his passing. He once sat in with Les Paul which was incredible- he played "Lean on Me" of course to a standing O.
Neil Peart of Rush- on anyone’s list of among the greatest rock drummers of all time, along with Ginger Baker, John Bonham, Buddy Rich. His drumming was at once intricate and explosive, expanding Rush’s power-trio dynamics. His lyrics transformed the band’s songs into elaborate suites. We filmed Geddy Lee but never got to meet Neil Peart.
Here’s what's on my current Spotify list:
Yes Close to The Edge
Led Zeppelin Custard Pie
Anything Jeff Beck
Wayne Shorter Juju Feat. McCoy nailing it on piano- which is basically always.
The Great Curve- Talking Heads Feat. Adrian Belew’s solo, during second part of track.
Eric Gales Whatcha Gon’ Do
Pete Townshend’s Deep End Live!  Feat. The amazing Simon Phillips on drums
Rush Cygnus X1- love Peart’s wild time signature changes
Neil Young Rockin In The Free World
What are some of your go to tracks?
Hope everyone stays safe, keeps the faith and we’ll be updating you as we know more about when we can open.
Ron Sturm and all at Iridium.