Blues Alley, founded in 1965, is a jazz dinner-and-nightclub in an alley off Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. As of 2008, exclusively jazz musicians are booked into Blues Alley for approximately 360 nights out of the year. Among the several jazz musicians to record a “Live at Blues Alley” album are the late Eva Cassidy and Dizzy Gillespie [featuring tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway], Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine and Grover Washington, Jr.
In 1975 Earl Fatha Hines spent a week, during the afternoons while the club was closed, making an hour-long solo film for British TV entirely in Blues Alley, prominently featuring Frank Hart, Blue’s Alley’s famous ‘clean-up man’.
Blues Alley also has a non-profit jazz arm, the Blues Alley Jazz Society, dedicated to jazz education and outreach for young performers in the local area. Education and outreach programs include the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra and Blues Alley Jazz Summer Camp. Blues Alley honors its most popular performers by allowing them to create dishes and have them as a regular part of the restaurant’s menu. Phyllis Hymans jumbo shrimp dish is one of the most popular items on the menu. Not all performers have this honor and it is shared with the greats such as Nancy Wilson and John Williams.
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