by Charles Dion Springfield
The fun and excitement from “A Great Night in Harlem” spilled over to the official after party tent and continued for hours until sometime after midnight. Guests of the star-studded affair were immediately ushered over to the after party for cocktails, passed appetizers and more great performances.
It was the ideal opportunity to reflect on what a wonderful night we all experienced, snap a photo of your favorite musicians and rub elbows with jazz music royalty (literally, I physically rubbed elbows with Bernard Ighner the composer of “Everything Must Change”).
Once Sweet Georgia Brown (also known as “The Last of the Red Hot Blues Mamas”) & The Blues Crusaders took the stage, the night, the dance floor and the tent instantly heated up.
As I mingled with fellow party goers, maneuvered through the crowds surrounding the bar stations, watched everyone shake a tail feather and tried to prevent myself from floating away on a sea of cognac – I felt very fortunate that I had the opportunity to have experienced the night I just experienced.
Walking through the empty Apollo theatre in order to get to 125th Street was quite sad because I come to the realization that the evening was officially over. But what immediately put a smile on my face was the fact that Harlem is now just a few subway stops away from where I currently reside.
And on top of that, the next day was Friday, the day I make my weekly pilgrimage to the area to soak up the history, the culture, the spirit and the legacy of greatness. This was just the beginning of several great nights in Harlem – for me.