One-time Adams Street resident Roy McCurdy is inducted into Rochester’s Music Hall of Fame.
Jazz was in the air. Everywhere. This was Rochester in the late 1950s, and on into the early ’60s, when the music could be heard at the Cotton Club on Joseph Avenue. Otmen’s Restaurant on Front Street. Squeezer’s on State Street. Shep’s Paradise on Clarissa Street. Sonny Stitt was playing the Hi-Land Inn on Clinton Avenue.
Small, intimate clubs, all long gone. And that parking lot at Clarissa and Troup streets in Rochester’s Corn Hill neighborhood? Sixty years ago, that rectangle of asphalt was the hot center of jazz in Rochester. The Pythodd Club.
“It was a really great scene, it was a neighborhood scene,” Roy McCurdy says. “People came from all over to go there, they got a lot of kids from the colleges, too. It was always packed. It was open about six or seven days a week, I think they had one night off. And when they weren’t bringing in anybody from out of town, they had a house band.
“And I was playing in that.”
From the house band at The Pythodd at age 21, McCurdy moved on to an astonishing career as the drummer behind some of the biggest names in jazz. He was playing the Pythodd with the then-unknown Mangione kids, Chuck and Gap. That’s where the famed trumpet player Art Farmer heard McCurdy, and invited him to join his band with Benny Golson.
Source: Steps forward, and steps backward, with Hall of Famer Roy McCurdy, WXXI News | By Jeff Spevak