Douglass Hotel

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South Philly
April 7, 2015
Douglass Hotel Vintage

In Jimmy Heath’s autobiography “I Walked with Giants,” drummer Roy Haynes recounted:

I met Jimmy around 1946 when I was with Luis Russell and we played the Earle Theater in Philadelphia. A lot of the big bands would come through the Earle. We stayed at the Douglas Hotel, which was in South Philly. That was the hotel where a lot of the big black bands stayed.

Douglass Hotel Guests

The building is still there. The historical marker out front notes that Billie Holiday lived there when she was in town.

Douglass Hotel - 4.7.15

But the Douglass Hotel was not just a place to lay one’s head. The legendary Showboat was located in the basement. John Coltrane recorded live from the Showboat in 1963.
John Coltrane Live at the Showboat

After the Showboat, the space became the Bijou Café. Grover Washington, Jr. recorded live from the Bijou Café in 1977.

Bijou - Grover Washington Live at the Bijou

The basement of the Douglass Hotel was a magical space.

1409 Lombard Street, Philadelphia PA South Philly

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