Our Story

We started in 1997 as a guide service specializing in the music scenes of New York City. We are the recognized leader in introducing visitors, businesses, and student groups to the world capital of jazz. From Harlem’s history and hidden jazz haunts to the nation’s greatest clubs in the Village and Midtown Manhattan – We not only show you where it’s at, we introduce you to all the cats!

“This tour, hosted by New York jazz expert Gordon Polatnick, is the real deal for jazz buffs.”

~ Brian Silverman Frommer’s NYC 2017 & NYC For Dummies.

Big Apple Jazz Tours welcomes individual jazz fans as well as corporate and school groups wishing to get off-the-beaten-path and down into the alleyways and basements where live jazz still thrives in hidden nightclubs from Harlem to Greenwich Village. Our tours of New York City jazz always include thrilling musicians and fascinating sightseeing.

Since we are a well-rounded step-on guide service with friendly and knowledgeable guides covering all subjects and in all languages, we encourage you to call us with any tour related questions. We will set up a phone appointment to discuss your needs and produce a unique itinerary, then match you with the perfect guide to suit your interests, schedule, budget, and style.

Meet Your Guides


  • Chevron down Gordon Polatnick
  • Gordon is the founder of Big Apple Jazz Tours.

    What started as a personal challenge to discover and document all of New York’s hundreds of jazz joints and to establish Harlem’s first jazz day club, has now blossomed into his life’s work. For more than 20 years, Gordon has enhanced a lifetime of tour guiding with a lifetime romance with jazz. Every night he chooses a variety of the best hidden performances and maps out a route that illustrates the story of jazz in the most exciting and personalized way. His passion for authenticity is contagious.


    Best night in NYC

    “Gordon took 6 of us around to several jazz clubs in Harlem. All had a distinct feel with different types of music. We went to places we would have never found on our own. We did not know the area and it was invaluable to have a friendly, knowledgeable local tour guide.”

    W. Padgett from Wisconsin

Amanda gardenia
  • Chevron down Amanda Humes
  • There’s no one in New York City like Amanda!

    Equal parts sass, smarts, and customer service – Amanda is the Harlem resident, Columbia University graduate, and Jazz Diva supreme who shows you the best of the best in her own backyard. Feel the beat of the street, and take in the sights and sounds that make Harlem sizzle with excitement. Amanda knows everyone and no one could ever forget Amanda. Her intimate Harlem tours are legendary.


    Amazing Amanda

    “Myself and my husband and two friends had the amazing Amanda take us on her jazz tour of Harlem we would love to thank her for a wonderful experience. She was a ray of sunshine and fun and went above and beyond… She was a wealth of information and we learnt so much about the history of jazz in Harlem and the people. She treated us like long lost friends not clients and we all thank her for the fantastic experience that she gave us. Thanks Amanda we will never forget our wonderful time with you.”

    Jane, Sean, Cath and Stephen from Australia