Jazzed in Cleveland
a jazz history by Joe Mosbrook
a special WMV Web News Cleveland series

Part 90 - The Loop Lounge in 1955
Story filed October 1, 2004

In 1955, when Dwight Eisenhower was president and Anthony Celebrezze was mayor, there were almost a dozen nightclubs and theatres in Cleveland presenting national jazz artists on a regular basis. But none was as active as the Loop Lounge at 614 Prospect Avenue.

Almost every week of 1955, almost every night of the week, major jazz artists – some of the biggest names in the history of the music – played at the Loop Lounge from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Generally, the acts would open on Monday night and continue through the following Sunday. There was no admission charge, minimum or cover.

Searching through old newspaper ads and articles, we have managed to assemble the amazing 1955 jazz line-up at the Loop Lounge:

Jan. 1-2  Lester Young
Jan. 3-9  Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge and Bill Harris
Jan. 10-16  Chet Baker
Jan. 17-29  Joe Loco mambo band
Jan. 30-Feb. 7  Eddie Heywood
Feb. 7-13  James Moody
Feb. 21-28  Eddie Bonnemere mambo band
Feb. 28-Mar. 6  Bull Moose Jackson
Mar. 7-13  Sonny Stiff and Milt Buckner
Mar. 14-20  Todd Rhodes
Mar. 21-27  Gene Ammons
Mar. 28-Apr. 3  Max Roach and Clifford Brown
Apr. 4-10  Buddy DeFranco
Apr. 11-17  Big Jay McNeely
Apr. 18-24  Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Herb Ellis
Apr. 25-May 7  Candido mambo band
May 8  Sonny Stitt, Oscar Pettiford and Jo Jones
May 9-15  Earl Hines
May 16-22  Stan Getz and Bob Brookmeyer
May 23-29  Buddy Rich
Jun. 6-12  Muggsy Spanier
Jun. 13-Jul. 10  Don Elliott
Jul. 11-17  Johnny Hodges
Jul. 18-24  Illinois Jacquet
Jul. 31  Charlie Ventura
Aug. 1-7  Roy Eldridge and Milt Buckner
Aug. 21  Sonny Stitt
Aug. 22-28  Ben Webster, Howard McGee and Hank Jones
Sep. 11  James Moody
Sep. 12-18  Max Roach and Clifford Brown
Sep. 19-28  Don Gardner
Sep. 29-Oct. 3  Erroll Garner
Oct. 4-10  Herbie Fields
Oct. 11-22  Joe Loco mambo band
Oct. 23-30  Charlie Ventura and Don Elliott
Oct. 31-Nov. 6  Sonny Stitt and Milt Buckner
Nov. 7-13  Roy Eldridge and Milt Buckner
Nov. 14-20  Kenny Burrell
Nov. 21-27  Illinois Jacquet
Nov. 28-Dec. 5  Vido Musso
Dec. 5-18  Dizzy Gillespie
Dec. 19-24  James Moody
Dec. 26-Jan. 1  Ben Webster

Gene Ammons was at the Loop Lounge the week in March that Cleveland inaugurated rapid transit service. The night Ben Webster opened in December, the Cleveland Browns won the National Football League championship by defeating the Los Angeles Rams. Dizzy Gillespie appeared shortly before he embarked on a world tour for the U.S. State Department.

The Loop Lounge, which had opened in 1948, continued to present major jazz artists until 1958 when it was re-named the Domino Lounge and presented local groups for several years.

Other clubs which presented national jazz artists in 1955 included the Cotton Club at 2230 East 4th (later re-named the Modern Jazz Room), the Ebony Lounge at 6619 Cedar, Club Trinidad at 10607 Superior, the Chatterbox at 5121 Woodland, and the Theatrical at 711 Vincent. In addition, there were jazz shows at the Circle Theatre at 102nd and Euclid, the Uptown Theatre at 105th and St. Clair Avenue, and the Music Hall at East 6th and St. Clair.

1955 was a heck of a year for live jazz in Cleveland!

Copyright 2004 Joe Mosbrook

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You can hear radio versions of Cleveland Jazz History on WCPN/90.3 Monday nights at 9:30 and Friday afternoons at 12:30. The greatly-expanded second edition of Mosbrook’s Cleveland Jazz History book is available from the Northeast Ohio Jazz Society, 4614 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44193.