The Iridium is located on 51st and Broadway in New York City and specializes in Jazz and Guitar Based music, such as rock, blues and folk due to it's historic status as both a jazz institution as well as The Home of Guitar Legend, Les Paul who performed at the club every Monday night from 1994 until his passing in August 2009. The Iridium's booking strategy is "Jazz any instrument, guitar any genre" and bill's itself as "The House that Les Paul Built". It has been cited by such publications as New York Magazine which called it Best Jazz Club" as well as Guitar World Magazine "which called it the country's best guitar club". Recently the club has been receiving a majority of press regarding it's forward thinking strategy with respect to new media and has been covered in The New York Time and Wall Street Journal among others. The Iridium books 7 nights a week and continues to honor Les Paul every Monday by presenting The Les Paul Trio with special guests guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Steve Miller, Zakk Wylde, Todd Rundgren and many others and donates a portion of sales to The Les Paul Foundation. In addition to live performances, The Iridium also has a recording studio on site, webcasts regularly, has a Meyer Sound System designed by Les Paul and is considered an audiophile room and the place to see high profile artists in an intimate venue.
The Iridium began in 1994 on Manhattan's Upper West Side and began by booking local acts and a popular late night jam session introduced the club to many of the "young lions" of jazz who were playing in trumpeter Wyton Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra which performed regularly across the street. Ronald Sturm, the club's owner and booker, told The New York Times his goal was to "hire people like the trumpeter Marcus Printup, or Cyrus Chestnut or Carl Allen"— to give a chance to "younger, mainstream musicians while still booking the legends." In the opening months of its existence, local, unknown jazz groups and solo artists were given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. In 1996, "The Father of The Electric Guitar" Les Paul began performing there every Monday night and the club began receiving rock stars such as Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Edie Van Halen and Slash. As Iridium's profile increased they also began booking Jazz legends such as McCoy Tyner, Max Roach and Lionel Hampton.The original location underwent three renovations, then in August 2001 the club moved to its current location at 1650 Broadway on 51st Street.
There have been many major releases recorded live at Iridium, from artists like Jeff Beck- whose CD "Rock and Roll Party" A Tribute To Les Paul has been nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award in the Best Rock Album category as we well as CD's by Kenny Garrett, Jacky Terrasson, Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Benny Carter, The Jazz Messengers, Sweets Edison, and Clark Terry.
Les Paul played at the club from 1996 until his passing in 2009 and the room was dedicated to Les Paul during Jeff Beck's performances at the club on what would have been Les Paul's 95th birthday on June 9, 2010. In 2010 The Iridium began a popular Facebook fan page that currently has over 18,000 fans and a youtube.com channel IridiumLive which posts many performances at the club in high definition. In 2011 The Iridium built a recording studio for live recordings and webcasts regularly in high definition video and audio.