Public Engagement

General Public

The Shape of Jazz to Come: Downtown Jazz in 1959 and Now

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street, Room I-202, New York, NY 10011

In the 1950s and 60s, the Five Spot Café (in two locations on Cooper Square) was a major nexus, not only of top-notch jazz, but also of racial integration and artistic ferment. Leonard Bernstein, James Baldwin and Norman Mailer were all in the mix alongside Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. When saxophonist Ornette Coleman and his band played for several weeks in 1959, they disrupted the scene’s social status quo as well as altering the sound of jazz. What is the downtown jazz scene like today – are there any parallels?

Karen Loew of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation will moderate a panel discussion with David Neil Lee, author of The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz FieldStacy Dillard, saxophonist and composer; and jazz critic Howard Mandel. A booksigning with Lee follows the discussion.

This promises to be a fascinating conversation at the crossroads of sociology and musicology, with a performance by the Ornette Coleman Ensemble of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, directed by Jane Ira Bloom. The Ornette Coleman Ensemble features: Allison Philips, trumpet; Alex Silver, tenor saxophone; Idan Morim, guitar; Antonio Mazzei Ocampo, piano; Daniel Durst, bass; Michael Dei Cont; bass; and Carter Bales, drums. 

Co-sponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and The New School for Public Engagement as Part of Lower East Side History Month.

This event is free, but reservations are required by calling 212.475.9585 x35 or emailing

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


Performing Arts


Schools of Public Engagement


Fine Arts, New York City, Music, Jazz, History, Sociology



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Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.

Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.