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LONG BEACH : Birdland Jazz Club Closes on a Blue Note

August 04, 1994|PSYCHE PASCUAL

Long Beach nightclub owner Al Williams has hosted his last jazz show at Birdland West.

Williams closed his jazz club Sunday night after years of struggling against declining ticket sales and a bad economy. Several jazz ensembles were featured at the closing bash.

The 51-year-old drummer said he decided to close the club after months of trying to find a buyer. In February, Williams initiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in an attempt to reorganize his debts. In June, he announced the club was for sale.

Williams said this week he was still considering offers from two prospective buyers who are interested in reopening the nightclub. He declined to elaborate.

Birdland opened in 1986, soon after Williams closed another club he owned, the Jazz Safari, which was located near the Queen Mary. During its eight-year history, Birdland hosted such jazz greats as Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and Les McCann. Williams said he was tired of managing the club and wanted to return to playing with his own band, the Jazz Society.

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