Jazz: The Audience Is Shrinking

"Through These Portals Pass the MOST" is, as it certainly should be, the motto painted above the stairway that leads down from Broadway into Birdland. Out on the street, the club calls itself "the JAZZ Corner of the WORLD," and, in fact, Birdland has long been everything to modern jazz that Colonial Williamsburg is to the D.A.R.—the cradle, the shrine, the place where things are perfect. But now, regrettably, the sign must come down.

"Birdland has gone off the cool," says Owner Oscar Goodstein, in the simple pursuit of "good nightclub entertainment." Since...

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