LaSalle Cafeteria and Jazz History Part 1
This is the first in a series on jazz artists and eateries in the Big Apple. The series is based on archival research done at the Bronx historical Society using the David carp collection. Carp had hosted a Latin Jazz radio program in which he played music and interviewed artist. He also collected the oral histories of many of the artist that appeared on his show. He would later donate these interviews to the Bronx County Historical Society where they have been archived. They are a goldmine for research on the Latin jazz music world. Local 802 represented jazz and other genres of musicians in New York City since 1921. With roots dating back to previous unions that had started just before the Civil War, musicians had organized to improve wages and working conditions. New York City also had a number of eateries that served as defacto union halls for jazz artist. One of them was the Lasalle Restaurant Located on the corner of 51st St. and seventh Avenue in Manhattan. It was a place "all the musicians" used to go "for coffee and get jobs. It was more important to us than the union was” says Jazz pianist Frankie Colón. It was so important to jazz musicians for getting gigs that they nicknamed it Local 803.