Legendary Jazz Club Lenox Lounge Reopens

Nightspot was a favorite hangout for Billie Holiday and Malcolm X.

The Lenox Lounge, one of Harlem's most legendary nightspots, reopened last week after being refurbished.

Located on Malcolm X Boulevard off 124th Street, the New York club was a favorite hangout for Billie Holiday and Malcolm X, and hosted almost every major jazz musician in the world.

Alvin Reed, who has owned the Lenox Lounge since 1988, remodeled the nightspot with the help of a $450,000 loan from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, a community development corporation created by the federal government.

Filmmaker John Singleton is using the Lenox Lounge in his remake of "Shaft." "It's a Harlem landmark," he said of the club, which opened in 1945. "You think about Holiday, or Billy Eckstine, walking through those doors, way back in the day. I couldn't resist having a glass of Hennessy between shots."

The reopening heralds a Harlem revival that also will see the renovation of Minton's Playhouse, site of the birth of bebop and perhaps the most famous jazz club of all. Minton's is scheduled to reopen next year, said a spokesman for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Friday.