Jazz clubs are venues designed to provide enthusiasts with a place to watch regularly scheduled jazz performances.
When I say “designed”, what I’m really talking about, is all of those great little Clubs nestled in the back corner of an Alleyway. A thousand litres of alcohol have been spilt there over the years, and if you listen really very carefully in between sets, you might just be able to hear an echo resonate from the creeky floor boards of some of the great sounds from gigs gone by…
Such clubs are well-known for being dimly-lit and sparsely populated, but these venues can really take any form as long as its primary form of entertainment is jazz. Despite their names, jazz clubs are usually not exclusive and do not generally feature any sort of real membership. The following are some of the world’s most well-known locations to find some great music:
The Blue Note Jazz Club
First opened in 1980 in New York’s Greenwich Village, the Blue Note is often regarded as one of the most famous jazz joints in the world. Additional Blue Note clubs also exist in Las Vegas, Tokyo, Nagoya, Seoul and Milan. A large number of famous jazz artists have performed at the Blue Note since it first opened its doors, including Chick Corea, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis and Maynard Ferguson.
Although not associated with the Blue Note record label, the Blue Note Club runs its own label, known as Half Note Records. Focusing mainly on live recordings, Half Note has released albums by Odean Pope, Kenny Werner, Charles Tolliver and several other artists.
The Green Mill Jazz Club
Best known today for being a regular haunt of gangster Al Capone during the 1920s, Chicago’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge as it’s now known still maintains a reputation for hosting top-notch jazz performances. Internationally-known jazz musician Patricia Berber has performed regularly at the club since the mid-1990s. Kurt Elling was also featured alongside his band for much of 2008. The Green Mill also hosts a weekly poetry slam, curated by the founder of the poetry slam movement, Marc Smith. Bob Mintzer has previouly played there.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Founded by the English jazz saxophonist of the same name, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has been a staple of London’s jazz scene since it opened in 1959. Since then, Ronnie Scott’s has held concerts by Zoot Sims, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Sonny Stitt and Johnny Griffin. Many of the UK’s most popular jazz artists once played in the house band at Ronnie Scott’s, including Martin Drew, Phil Seamen and Allan Ganley. Like the Blue Note, Ronnie Scott’s also releases live albums for certain shows. The club has released albums for numerous artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Buddy Rich and Arturo Sandoval.
Le Bilboquet is one of Paris’s most highly regarded and historic jazz Bars. Founded in 1947 in Saint-Germain, Le Bilboquet is renowned for its soft lighting, intimate setting and solid acoustics. The club has hosted such artists as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. Le Bilboquet bills itself as an authentic jazz venue, allowing enthusiasts to experience concerts just as they might have 50 or 60 years ago.