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Comment by Jonathon Hampton on November 21, 2012 at 11:31am

For me, it's all about a casual, intimate feel, the way jazz came about. My first regular experience with live jazz was at a small coffee shop in Ithaca, New York called ABC Cafe. It was such a chill, cozy, and inexpensive spot that it make students really comfortable with performing and attending, and that brought some great local talent and audiences in.

Today, in New York City, if you follow the college crowd, you'll find great venues that are affordable and often have open mic and a wide range of entertainment options. The range of talent in those places is incredible. Such as Fat Cat near New York University, Cleopatra's Needle near Columbia and Barnard, and The Shrine near the City College of New York.

Up in Harlem, I find that the older crowd knows how to jam well, too. That's why I hit small spots like Creole Jazz and Supper Club, and The American Legion Post 398:

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