Reports about last week’s fire at Blues Alley in Georgetown sent shockwaves throughout the District and jazz fans worldwide. News and social media images showed smoke billowing from the roof of the venerable historic jazz venue. Ten fire trucks were on the scene, dousing the rooftop to prevent the fire’s spread.
During a phone interview with DC Fire and EMS media affairs officer, Vito Maggiolo, he confirmed what happened at Blues Alley on October 24. “Our fire investigators determined there was a significant fire that was accidental in nature due to work being in the attic.”
When he arrived at the club that next afternoon, Harry Schnipper, executive director and owner of Blues Alley Jazz Club, talked about next steps.
“We’re getting ready to turn on the humidifiers and begin to remediate the water,” he said, referring to water damage from the fire department’s response. “The only damage that occurred inside has been to our speakers, amplifiers, the console, and maybe our piano.”
According to Norelco Carroll, the club’s manager, the biweekly schedule for this historic club is now posted. Blues Alley re-opened for its first post-fire performance on Tuesday, Nov. 1, but will be coincidentally dark until the 4th. Pianist and composer, Bob James will perform Nov. 4-6.
Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation’s oldest continuing jazz supper club. Known for hosting top music performers through the decades, like Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Phyllis Hyman, Billy Hart, John Pizzarelli, and Freda Payne, to name a few, the club hopes to re-open on Tuesday, October 31.
Follow the club on Twitter (@BluesAlley) for any further re-opening updates.