Gordon at the Village Vanguard, c. 2004
October 15, 1922
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||June 9, 2018 (aged 95)|
|Occupation||Jazz club owner|
|Known for||Jazz advocacy |
|NEA Jazz Master|
Lorraine Gordon (née Stein; October 15, 1922 – June 9, 2018) was an American jazz music advocate, the owner of the Village Vanguard jazz club in Greenwich Village, New York City, and the author of a memoir on jazz music.
Life and career
In 1942, she married Alfred Lion, co-founder of Blue Note Records. In the 1940s, Gordon and Lion recorded the works of jazz artists such as the clarinetist Sidney Bechet and pianist Thelonious Monk. In 1949, she married Max Gordon, owner of the Village Vanguard club in New York. Established in 1935, the club gained a reputation among jazz musicians in the late 1950s and became a popular place to record live performances. The club's artistic direction was in part guided by her. In the 1960s, as a member of the peace activist group Women Strike for Peace, Gordon rallied against nuclear weapons testing and the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, she worked at the Brooklyn Museum. After Max Gordon's death in 1989, she assumed ownership and management of the Vanguard club. She continued the club's dedication to jazz music and maintained its reputation as a premier jazz club.
Gordon's autobiographical memoir, Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time, was published in 2006, and chronicles her lifelong involvement with jazz music. In it she wrote, "I didn't arrive at the Village Vanguard from out of the blue. I stuck to what I loved. That was my art. I'm not a musician; I'm not a singer; I'm not a painter; I'm not an actress. I'm none of those things. But throughout my life I followed the course of the music that I loved." The book received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music print publishing.
In 2013, Gordon's contribution to jazz music was recognized by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, and she received the NEA Jazz Master Award for jazz advocacy. She actively engaged in the management of Vanguard club until late 2012. She died on June 9, 2018, at age 95.
- Barry Singer (March 17, 2015). "Lorraine at 92 Toasts the Vanguard at 80". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on May 11, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
- "Lorraine Gordon's Alive at the Village Vanguard". Nestor Publishers, Jazz News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Felix Contreras (February 27, 2007). "Lorraine Gordon, Keeper of a Shrine to Jazz". NPR.org. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- "NEA Jazz Masters - Lorraine Gordon". Washington: National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Tim Weiner (June 9, 2018). "Lorraine Gordon, Keeper of the Village Vanguard Flame, Dies at 95". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Gilbert Millstein (June 12, 1977). "Max Gordon the Man Behind the Vanguard". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Ashley Kahn (February 8, 2005). "After 70 Years, The Village Vanguard Is Still in the Jazz Swing". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Russ Musto (January 14, 2007). "Book Review: Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life in and Out of Jazz Time". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on February 9, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Lorraine Gordon; Barry Singer (2006). Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 241. ISBN 9780634073991. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- "40th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards Announced". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Nate Chinen (January 15, 2013). "A Swinging Party With Old Friends". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2018.