It might be the most famous venue in modern Jazz. John Coltrane recorded his most important live album there, as did Bill Evans. NPR has a concert series based at the Vanguard. I am behind on my listening, but they have a recent concert featuring Cedar Walton. That is something to look forward to.
Some time ago I acquired Art Pepper: The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions. It's pricey to be sure, at over a hundred bucks. But when you have it, you have Pepper. Art Pepper was a mess. His recording career was punctuated by about four prison terms, all due to his heroin addiction. Photos of Pepper at this date remind me of Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows.
Still, Pepper managed to leave behind a series of immortal recordings. The Vanguard recordings give you nine discs of everything that Pepper put into the microphones during his stint at the club. That means a lot of versions of the same numbers.
It also means you get to hear his voice, a lot, as he schmoozes the crowd. Pepper clearly wanted the crowd to know that they were present for something important. They were.
Backing Pepper George Cables played piano, George Mraz played bass, and Elvin Jones was on drums. They were up to the occasion. Here is a sample from the nine disc collection:
This one will make you glad to be alive. Seek out the rest of the recordings, and shell out some dough. One of these days you will raise a glass to me.