Aqua Lounge

Paul Myers opened the Aqua Lounge in 1967. It was one of Philadelphia’s four major jazz clubs that included the Blue Note, the Showboat, and Pep’s Musical Bar. It was the first jazz club on “the Strip.”

Aqua Lounge headliners included Lee Morgan, Roy Ayers, Jimmy Smith, Dave Burrell, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Dakota Staton, Johnny Coles, Joe Henderson, and Charles Earland and Irene Reid.

In an interview with the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences’ West Philadelphia Music Project, jazz drummer Lucky Thompson shared his memories of the Aqua Lounge:

And right along 52nd street, there was a club called the Aqua Lounge, it used to bring a lot of famous musicians through there, like Miles, Max [unclear], and I mean they would come out and stand in one of the corners smoking a cigarette, and Philly Joe Jones, and umm, a lot of Shirley Scott, a lot of famous musicians. Called the Aqua Lounge. That was one of the clubs known for being on the Strip.

Gil Scott-Heron name-checks the Aqua Lounge in “Is That Jazz?” It is the last place in Philadelphia where Lee Morgan performed before his tragic death four months later.

The Aqua Lounge closed circa 1975. It is now the home of the African Cultural Art Forum.

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