On Friday, relive the jazz of the Manhattan Casino at the Mahaffey Theater
One of St. Petersburg's most important musical venues doesn't have the same cache it once did. But you can relive the extraordinary history of the Manhattan Casino this Friday.
From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Manhattan was one of the centers of African American culture in Tampa Bay. That meant it hosted concerts jazz legends like Louie Armstrong (above, performing at the Manhattan in 1957), Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, James Brown and countless others. It even inspired a (tepidly received) musical.
The venue closed in 1968, although the building itself still sits at 642 22nd St. S in St. Pete. Three veterans of the Manhattan -- Sylvester "Hanky Dank" Manning (alto sax), Al Williams (trombone) and Joe Davis (bari sax) -- will perform with 14-year-old saxophonist Jordan Richardson.
The show is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. Tickets are $20, $10 for children 12 and under, and $15 for students with ID.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Times photo by Bob Moreland (1957).