Harry Schnipper is a native Washingtonian and the owner of Blues Alley, America’s oldest, continuously operated jazz supper club. The club boasts live jazz entertainment 360 days of the year, and has been in existence for half a century and has presented every jazz artist imaginable from Miles Davis to Tony Bennett to Wynton Marsalis, Sarah Vaughn and Dizzy Gillespie. Harry reminisces about his five favorite venues to see live jazz entertainment in our Nation’s Capitol.
Cultural Tourism DC asked some prominent Washingtonians to share with us their favorite places or events that are special and unique to DC.
Harry shares his top 5.
1. Sylvan Amphitheater is on the National Mall and is synonymous to me with big band jazz ever since my parents took me to see free performances featuring big band military ensembles. Iit is also the home to my annual BIG BAND JAM!
2. Carter Barron Amphitheater is Washington, DC’s best outdoor entertainment experience. It is located in Rock Creek Park and nestled in a glen that is like an oasis in the middle of the city. It is also our city’s best kept entertainment secret.
3. Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History boasts some of the finest acoustic performances anywhere. If your tastes lean toward small ensemble acoustic jazz then look no further than Baird Auditorium.
4. Gertrude Whittall Pavilion at the Library of Congress is a close second to Baird’s acoustic auditorium. The design of the venue allows any attendee to hear virtually any sound from any angle. From Baroque to Chamber to Jazz this hall truly has it all.
5. Blues Alley is hands down the top jazz venue in the worlds for sound and atmosphere. I have heard everything from big band to avant garde to fusion to acoustic and the sound is always impeccable. Also, on the right night with the right person and the right artist there’s almost certain to be some magic in the air. It’s truly one of a kind and I’m not boasting if it’s actually true!
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