Back in the days when coffee cost a dime and the bar on the corner offered a free lunch, a certain part of New York's West 52nd Street was known as Swing Alley, so named for its profusion of jazz clubs.
Now, a similar situation threatens to erupt within a stretch only a few blocks long, in the Toluca Lake segment of Riverside Drive. There, the Money Tree has long been identified with a policy of jazz singers and piano combos. In the last year, Alfonse's has converted to a full-scale jazz policy.
Only a block or two farther west, the China Trader some weeks ago brought back a musical regimen that was a staple in the late 1960s, when Bobby Troup was on hand.
Under the direction of Donna Lee, the former singer, the back room of the Trader now offers, Tuesdays through Saturdays, some of the same brand of jazz fare often heard across the street at Alfonse's (Jack Sheldon, Ross Tompkins, Sandy Graham). Tuesdays are given over to a blues singer named James (Popeye) Maupin.