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LIVE JAZZ NEAR YOU: FROM RONNIE SCOTT'S TO PRESERVATION HALL
- 06 Feb
With a crop of homegrown talent such as Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet) and drummer Moses Boyd bringing excitement to the UK jazz scene, together with Spotify reporting a huge hike in streaming for the genre by the under-30s, where are the best places to go for your live jazz fix?
Best Jazz Clubs In London
- Ronnie Scott’s – the big daddy of jazz opened in 1959, and has hosted the genre’s biggest names, from Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald to Jamie Cullum. It’s the place for history and getting up close to the greats, as well as showcasing new bands such as Ezra Collective
- The Jazz Cafe - Camden's Jazz Café has live acts seven nights a week, with established acts and rising stars, plus a range of club nights
- For a speakeasy vibe, with fantastic cocktails, head to Nightjar on the fringes of Shoreditch, where the basement bar hosts a variety of jazz and blues live acts.
- Open since 1976 in the heart of Soho, Dean Street Pizza Express’s intimate basement means you can get as close as possible to artists such as Gregory Porter and Norah Jones.
- The hardcore jazz crowd head to the 606 Club in Chelsea, which has been going for more than three decades.
- Broadcaster, DJ and indie label Brownswood owner Gilles Peterson recommends checking out Jazz Re:freshed at grassroots jazz institution Mau Mau Bar on Portobello Road or Good Evening at the Royal Albert in Deptford on Sundays.
James Taylor Quartet , Noel Mckoy and Natalie Williams at Ronnie Scott's
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Best Jazz Clubs in Dublin
Gregory Porter described Dublin’s Sugar Club as ‘quite possibly the best atmosphere I have ever performed in’ and The Irish Times agrees: ‘it’s a venue to die for [with] wood-panelled walls, plus banquette seating and a pristine sound system.’ Specialising in jazz, hip hop, soul, afrobeat and world music, the club hosts a multitude of live music events.
Best Jazz Clubs in Scotland
Jazz Bar – Edinburgh’s longest-standing and awards-garlanded indie jazz venue has been bringing a daily mix of multi-genre live music to fans since 1985. Head to the basement for jazz, plus blues, roots, funk and soul.
Also in the basement is the Blue Arrow in Glasgow which hosts everything from ‘straight-ahead jazz to the more avant-garde’.
Best Jazz Clubs in Wales
AmserJazz Time - catch the jazz stars of the future in Cardiff every Friday between 5.30-7pm when the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama puts on a jazz performance at its college on the edge of Bute Park.
In the heart of Cardiff, Café Jazz has jazz nights running most evenings – head there on Tuesdays for performances by The Preservation Jazz Society, playing traditional and New Orleans jazz, or the student-run Hackensack night on the first Thursday of the month, featuring a student set, followed by touring musicians in the second half
Visit Brecon from 7th-9th August for headline acts and scores of gigs across the weekend at the Brecon Jazz Festival, which has been a fixture of the jazz scene for over 35 years.
The World’s Best Jazz Bars
And if you want to go farther afield, then why not plan a visit to one of the world’s most famous jazz bars and clubs? Some of the most iconic are:
- The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai home of the Old Jazz Band, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest jazz band. They play 365 days a year – and their average age is 82.
- If you’re looking for the oldest jazz bar in the world, then head to Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, which has been going, with its iconic piano-shaped bar, since 1934. However, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago is said to have opened in 1907. It was a favourite of Al Capone, and is rumoured to be connected to other buildings via a series of underground passageways, enabling Capone to avoid the mob…
- New York City’s Birdland was a fashionable celebrity hangout in the 50s, hosting Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. Also popular with the Beat Generation writers, Jack Kerouac drops a mention of the venue into On the Road: ‘I saw him wish a well-to-do man Merry Christmas so volubly a five-spot in change for twenty was never missed. We went out and spent it in Birdland, the bop joint. Lester Young was on the stand, eternity on his huge eyelids.’
- Founded in 1961, Preservation Hall has the express purpose of protecting and perpetuating traditional New Orleans jazz. Check it out if you want to hear what jazz sounded like back in the day.
- Got into jazz via the film La La Land? Then you’ll want to make a bee(bop) line to Le Caveau de la Huchette, as in a dream sequence trip to Paris, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is shown performing in the legendary bar.
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