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Paul's Mall & The Jazz Workshop

Posted by Jim Botticelli  September 27, 2013 02:31 PM

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PaulMallLastNite StephenCabral.jpg
Paul's Mall, The Jazz Workshop and Cinema 733 on their last night in 1978
Photo by Stephen Cabral

It's Friday night. Just got paid. Check the mirror. Looking fly. Time to see some music. But not in a huge venue and you don't wanna stand all night after a full week on the shop floor. You headed to 733 Boylston where you could choose between Paul's Mall and The Jazz Workshop. For that matter you could catch a movie at the 733 Cinema as well. These twin rooms were in business 15 years and picked themselves up a worldwide rep for their superior bookings and for the careers they launched to the next phase.

The club's history goes back to 1953 when a group of local jazz musicians started a music school and jammed at a spot they'd found on Stuart St. They called it The Jazz Workshop. They moved from there to the basement of a Huntington Av spot called The Stable which was subsequently demolished in 1963 to make way for the Pike Extension. Up to Boylston St they went and back to the basement, this time under the Inner Circle Restaurant at #733. This was their last address. They kept the Workshop moniker and opened with Stan Getz. Fred Taylor (currently of Sculler's) took over in 1965 and ran it until it closed for good in 1978.

The name acts that played the clubs could have their own Hall of Fame. Ellington, Miles, Ramsey, Trane, Sonny and Sun Ra played the Workshop. Believe it or don't, one night WBCN, Boston's rock giant FM at the time, simulcast Keith Jarret, so extensive was their willingness to explore musical genres. Paul's Mall presented less jazz-oriented acts, but those only carefully culled from the herd. You heard Linda Lewis, Jesse Colin Young, Gil Scott-Heron, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang, Bette Midler, Bob Marley, The Persuasions, BB King and Muddy Waters, among others. You got a seat, you got waited on and you saw real talent up close and personal. After all it was Friday night and you'd been on that shop floor all week.

Thanks to Music Museum of New England for sharing information
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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