6:00 pm
J.C. Hopkins & His Biggish Band

Minton's playhouse
206 West 118th Street


Event Details

  • 1st Set
    7:30 pm – Doors Open 6 pm
  • 2nd Set
    9:30 pm – Doors Open 9 pm

Sets are 1 hour long
The admission price is $25.00 per set.
Tickets can be purchased at EventBrite or at the door.
There is a $30 Minimum for Food and Beverages Per Person at the table.
* Admission may increase depending upon a given week’s performance schedule.

During performances, quiet policy is enforced !


“Absolutely devastatingly talented – the greatest small big band in the world” NYT. Grammy nominated JC Hopkins and the Biggish Band’s residency at Minton’s Playhouse is the coming together of two collossal worlds. The Biggish has played host to some great musicians and vocalists from Norah Jones to Elvis Costello but this latest line up of players is, in the words of JC, “The most talented and inventive group of musicians that I have ever worked with.”


J. C. Hopkins Biggish Band, led by the bandleader, songwriter and producer for which it’s named, the J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band has always been a friend to vocalists, and in this engagement, the group pays a centenary tribute to Billie Holiday. Among the many singers assembled are Brianna Thomas, Charenee Wade, Charles Turner and Jazzmeia Horn. From 6 to 11 p.m., Minton’s, 206 West 118th Street, Harlem,212-243-2222, mintonsharlem.com. (Chinen)


At Minton’s, you’re part of the choir. There’s this part in “Moanin'” where—not in the original version but in this one, arranged by JC Hopkins and which his band, JC Hopkins’ Biggish Band, plays—the horn section shouts out, call-and-response style. This night, we get in on it, too. Bum be de BOMP. HEY! Be dop bop be da BOMP. HEY! Bum be de BOMP. HEY! And it’s not anger any longer, but joy.


“But Minton’s, reopened in 2013, was full and thriving in the current boom, and the house band that night was JC Hopkins’ Biggish Band. Like the Vanguard, there is a sense of history in this room; unlike the Vanguard, it serves food and is a rather shiny reincarnation of the original Playhouse. It is a small club, taking just 25 customers in the bar area at the back and 50 dining guests at tables in front of the minuscule bandstand. Just before taking his band on stage, Hopkins told me that the success of the new Minton’s was down to the “interaction between older cats and younger cats”. That applies not just to the audience, but to the musicians who play here — from 93-year-old Jon Hendricks to 19-year-old Solomon Hicks, the Harlem kid who has been lead guitarist of the Cotton Club band since he was 13.

It turned out that the band was also doing a tribute to Billie Holiday, 2015 being the centenary of her birth and, as Hopkins explained, because she had a special connection to Minton’s: “She was a felon in New York, so they took away her performer’s license, but she could play here because she was jamming and didn’t get paid for it.” So with Hopkins at the piano, the band swung and bopped behind three wonderful vocalists through the Billie Holiday songbook, including superb readings of “God Bless the Child” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”. Music created in another age that remains as affecting today must be regarded as serious art, and that was what I heard at Minton’s that night.”


The birthplace of bebop, Minton’s on 118th Street, has been reborn as a venue that is as classy as it is historic. The long-neglected room has now been remodeled into one of the most attractive venues in the city, with a menu that puts most Midtown clubs to shame. The combination of pianist-bandleader JC Hopkins and band expertly recapture the vitality and energy of Harlem jazz and blues of 70 years ago without slavishly imitating anyone and are thus a perfect fit, and they should help the relaunched room attract the attention of dancers as well as diners.