Jazz clubs are some of the most interesting places to spend time in, especially if you love music. There are jazz clubs in almost every corner of the world. So if you’re traveling anytime soon, you won’t have to worry about missing out on your supply of good live jazz music. Check out this list of some of the world’s best jazz clubs and start planning your travel itinerary now.
Manhattan, New York – Village Vanguard
Numerous review websites and articles site New York’s Village Vanguard as the best jazz club in the United States – and perhaps also in the world. The club is also one of the longest running. It was established and opened to the jazz loving public in 1935 by jazz promoter Max Gordon. After his death in 1989, Village Vanguard continued, with Gordon’s wife Lorraine staying on top of things. According to Business Insider, Village Vanguard is “the jazz mecca of the world.” It is where the greatest names in jazz play or has played. The club is located in a basement. It is not that spacious and is dimly lit (as are most jazz clubs), but the people still get inside in droves. Some of the big names in jazz who have played in the club are Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, Jason Moran, and Joe Lovano.
New Orleans – Preservation Hall
What’s a list of the best jazz clubs if it does not include a New Orleans club? New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and the city happily embraces this fact. There are numerous jazz clubs in this colorful and lively city, but the best among them is Preservation Hall, which has been swinging things since 1961. It is where you will hear the best original sound of jazz, plus masterpieces by Louis Armstrong, in addition to jazz music you can stomp your feet with – such as those played by jazz bands.
San Francisco – SFJAZZ
What made SFJAZZ land on this list is its unique lineup of activities: educational programs, community outreach programs, a jazz program for high school students, and nightly jazz music performances. SFJAZZ is the home of the SFJAZZ Collective, which is a rotating group of jazz musicians who go to different places in San Francisco promoting jazz and art through the music and repertoire they create. Every night, jazz performers from various parts of the world go onstage to showcase their masterpieces. But one of SFJAZZ’s best features is the Jazz in the Middle program, which helps create opportunities for talented high school students. The students are trained, and so they can perform together onstage.
Lisbon – Hot Clube de Portugal
One of Europe’s oldest jazz clubs, Hot Clube de Portugal, was established in 1948, the club has featured memorable performances by some of jazz music’s legends: Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Count Basie, and Sarah Vaughan. The club was renovated after a fire in 2009 destroyed it. Hot Clube de Portugal can accommodate more or less 140 people.
Considered by many as the best jazz club in all of Europe, Bimhuis is not only a feast for the ears, but it is also a visual masterpiece. Its almost-transparent glass and iron building is perched on the riverside. It stands majestic, especially when lit up for the night. Once you get inside, you’ll be awed by the beautiful interiors. Seating is amphitheater style, which is perfect if you want to see the stage without distractions. The stage is complete with curtains that reveal the majestic Nemo Museum. All these visual plus the best live performances from some of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians makes Bimhuis a magical musical experience you wouldn’t want to forget.
Tokyo – Blue Note
The urban wonderland that is Tokyo is home to one of the world’s best jazz clubs – Blue Note. This high-end club is a symbol of Tokyo’s sophistication. The minute you step inside, you’ll feel at home despite its sleek and luxurious interiors and ambiance. Blue Note is actually an American franchise. As such, it stages some of the best live jazz performances that feature both international greats and local talents.