MEZZROW is a jazz venue, a listening room and lounge in the heart of the historic district of Greenwich Village. Mezzrow, endorsed by the Steinway Piano Company, has a gorgeous new model "A" (6'3") on which we feature the very best jazz pianists in New York City. Our lounge is a place for adults to enjoy the relaxed social atmosphere of a jazz club. Our Music room is a place for music lovers to have an intimate experience with the artists who are performing. Mezzrow is owned and operated by the folks from Smalls Jazz Club (next door at 183 west 10th street) – a musical environment run by musicians for musicians.
To all hipsters, hustlers and fly cats tipping along The Stroll. (Keep scuffling)
To all the cons in all the houses of many slammers wrastling with chinches (Short time, boys.)
To all the junkies and lushes in two-bit scratch-pads, and the flop-house grads in morgue ice-boxes (R.I.P.)
To all the sweettalkers, the gumbeaters, the high-jivers, out of the gallion for good and never going to take low again. (You got to make it, daddy.)
To Bessie Smith, Jimmy Noone, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Zutty Singleton, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier. (Grab a taste of millennium, gate.)
- Mezz Mezzrow, Dedication to Really The Blues
Mezz Mezzrow in his office circa November, 1946
© William Gottlieb
MILTON “MEZZ” MEZZROW, (November 9, 1899 – August 5, 1972) was born in Chicago to a poor Jewish immigrant family. As a juvenile delinquent, he was in and out of reformatory schools and prisons where he was exposed to jazz and blues music. He began to play the clarinet and decided to adopt the African American culture as his own. He became a ubiquitous figure on the Chicago jazz scene of the 1920’s and ran in the circles of musicians that included King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jimmy Noone, Al Jolson, Baby Dodds, Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Bellson and many others. Mezz was an advocate for the pure New Orleans jazz style. Mezz became close friends with Louis Armstrong and later became his personal assistant. In the late thirties, Mezz moved to Harlem in New York City and married an African American woman. He continued to play and also organize recording sessions with many great artists. Mezz Mezzrow also became famous as a marijuana dealer and advocated for the use of the herb as a healthy alternative to alcohol and other drugs. His product was so well known in the jazz community that musicians called it “mezz”, “the mighty mezz” or “mezz-rolls”, as in marijuana cigarettes.
Above everything Mezz Mezzrow was an advocate for integration and equal rights at time well before the movement of the 1960’s. Eddie Condon said of Mezz Mezzrow: “When he fell through the Mason-Dixie line he just kept going". Mezz was the original hipster, slang master, jazz musician and bohemian spirit.
Mezzrow’s autobiography, Really The Blues, is a colorful masterpiece - a true glimpse into the underworld of speakeasies, gangsters and the masters of jazz music as well as a morality tale through the American odyssey (Link to Amazon).