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Colored Musicians Club turns 100 years old

Posted at 6:58 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 18:58:26-05

The historic Colored Musicians Club in Buffalo is celebrating a major milestone February.  The month marks 100 years since the start of Local 533, the union that represented African-American musicians in the city during a time when segregation was legal and enforced.

For club president and band leader George Scott, it's important to remember the history of the musicians who blazed a trail through history.

"To be able to tell the story and just explain, if it wasn't for these guys, we don't get to do what we do now," he said.

2017 is also a special year for Charlie Reedy.

The 86-year-old from Cheektowaga plays saxophone in four different bands and this year will be his 70th spent at the CMC.

"I've been here so long it's just like a second stage," he said.  "A second home.  I spent so much time and effort in this place.  I did so many things while I was here."

Reedy started to play at the club while he was still in high school in Niagara Falls.  He looks back fondly at countless memories he has made at the club on Broadway Street and Michigan Avenue.

Reedy started playing music because of his friend Spider Martin.  The two used to take the bus to jam at the club, sometimes staying so late they would miss the last ride home.

"Maybe the jam session would just be getting warmed up upstairs," Reedy said.  "So there was many a night that we slept in the bus terminal."

For Reedy, those memories are what make the club so special to him.  He and Scott both work to share the history of the CMC with people in the community.

The club still has live music most nights of the week and hosts an open jam session on Sunday evenings.

In April, the CMC will hold a gala celebrating 100 years of making music in Buffalo.  For more information, you can call the club at 842-0969 or the museum at 855-9383.