Skip links

Small’s Jazz Club – the heart of the New York jazz scene

Anyone for jazz?

Then come with us to Small’s jazz club in Greenwich Village, an excellent club devoted to giving space to the best young, new and upcoming jazz talent on the New York scene – here we tune into a couple of numbers from Ulysses Owen Jr.’s exceptional drum-led five-piece, as heard in October 2019.

City version:

Small's jazz club
Photo by Giulia Biasibetti.

New Yorker Jeff Dungfelder took this sound on to reimagine, and this is how he approached the recording:

“When one lives in New York City and has spend some time here walking the streets, the one word that best describes the feeling you get would be “jazz”.

“Because of this, I chose the field recording “Small’s Jazz Club Greenwich Village” as the basis of my composition “In these hidden streets”.

“I used samples of these sounds to create new textures and rhythms to create the feeling I wanted to convey.

“An influence on this project was the Allen Ginsberg poem titled “My Sad Self”. To me, its language is a perfect representation of what I tried to express through sound.”

My Sad Self – by Allen Ginsberg

Sometimes when my eyes are red
I go up on top of the RCA Building
and gaze at my world, Manhattan—
my buildings, streets I’ve done feats in,
lofts, beds, coldwater flats
—on Fifth Ave below which I also bear in mind,
its ant cars, little yellow taxis, men
walking the size of specks of wool—
Panorama of the bridges, sunrise over Brooklyn machine,
sun go down over New Jersey where I was born
& Paterson where I played with ants—
my later loves on 15th Street,
my greater loves of Lower East Side,
my once fabulous amours in the Bronx
paths crossing in these hidden streets,
my history summed up, my absences
and ecstasies in Harlem—
—sun shining down on all I own
in one eyeblink to the horizon
in my last eternity—
matter is water.

small's jazz club
Photo by Giulia Biasibetti.

I take the elevator and go
down, pondering,
and walk on the pavements staring into all man’s
plateglass, faces,
questioning after who loves,
and stop, bemused
in front of an automobile shopwindow
standing lost in calm thought,
traffic moving up & down 5th Avenue blocks behind me
waiting for a moment when …

Time to go home & cook supper & listen to
the romantic war news on the radio
… all movement stops
& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,
tenderness flowing thru the buildings,
my fingertips touching reality’s face,
my own face streaked with tears in the mirror
of some window—at dusk—
where I have no desire—
for bonbons—or to own the dresses or Japanese
lampshades of intellection—

Confused by the spectacle around me,
Man struggling up the street
with packages, newspapers,
ties, beautiful suits
toward his desire
Man, woman, streaming over the pavements
red lights clocking hurried watches &
movements at the curb—

And all these streets leading
so crosswise, honking, lengthily,
by avenues
stalked by high buildings or crusted into slums
thru such halting traffic
screaming cars and engines
so painfully to this
countryside, this graveyard
this stillness
on deathbed or mountain
once seen
never regained or desired
in the mind to come
where all Manhattan that I’ve seen must disappear.

(New York, October 1958)

Memory version: