Not sure which jazz club to go to in New York during your stay? Here are my favourite addresses 😊
Jazz fans, New York is one of the cities you should definitely check out on a trip to the US. Even today, you can find a large number of places dedicated to this musical genre – which is truly part of the city's identity. From legendary to more modern venues, here's a guide to the best jazz clubs in New York.
JAZZ IN NEW YORK TODAY
Jazz is a musical genre that originated in New Orleans, and quickly spread throughout the United States. Chicago and New York are probably the two major cities that have had the greatest impact on the history of jazz.
From the early 1920s onwards, the greatest artists of the time performed in the Harlem district, in places that have become cult places today, such as the Cotton Club. In the 1940s, New York truly became the jazz capital of the world. Over the following decades, all the major developments and trends in jazz were to have their origins in the city.
Today, you can find clubs in New York to listen to absolutely every type of jazz, from the most classic to the most modern. In total, there are almost 80 jazz clubs in the city. There are clubs in almost every part of New York City, offering eclectic shows at sometimes very affordable prices.
Iconic clubs such as the Blue Note and the Village Vanguard offer performances by some of the world's most renowned jazz musicians. Other smaller clubs offer classic or more contemporary jazz-rock or fusion concerts to discover the rising stars of jazz.
New York's most famous jazz club: The Blue Note
The Blue Note opened in 1981 and quickly became the ultimate reference for jazz in New York. Located in Greenwich Village, the Blue Note is probably the club that brought jazz into the world of show business, and created a real gap between the most popular artists and those who perform in the more modest clubs.
Here you can regularly see the biggest stars in the business. For jazz fans, this club is an absolute temple and a must-see. The place is extremely famous and crowded, so if you wish to attend a concert at the Blue Note, you would be wise to book your place in advance on the club's official website.
Performances usually take place every night, starting at 8 pm. If you wish, you can also enjoy a meal during the concert, and visit the souvenir shop of this cult club to find records, accessories and clothes. The Blue Note is also one of the few clubs in the city that welcomes minors.
For tickets and line-up, check out their website directly.
The alternative to a jazz club🎷
If you want to spend some time in an elegant and musical atmosphere, I can only recommend taking a cruise in the New York harbour. You will be able to combine different elements: admiring the great views of New York (Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge,...), tasting a refined cuisine (you will have the choice between brunch, lunch or dinner), all while enjoying a concert of a local band (jazz, blues,...) throughout the cruise.
I was lucky enough to take part in a dinner cruise and I can assure you that it was a memorable experience! What could be better than admiring New York by night, listening to a live Jazz concert, while satiating your taste buds? 😊
New York's most family-friendly jazz club, Bill's Place
What could possibly be more typical than going to a jazz concert in Harlem, in a historic club? Bill’s Place pays homage to the 1920s, in the midst of the Prohibition era, when jazz first came to New York. If you are visiting Harlem, this small club that can only accommodate about 30 people is not to be missed! You can attend a bebop jazz concert given by 4 exceptional musicians, including William E. Saxton, the founder of the club.
For $30 (£23), you can spend an unforgettable evening, listening to Bill sharing his anecdotes about Harlem and the history of jazz. Bill's Place is not a bar, but you can bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy a special moment with other jazz lovers.
For more information and reservations, click here.
The Village Vanguard
This is one of the city's most famous clubs. Founded in 1935, it has hosted some of the greatest jazz figures over the years, including Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Albert Nicholas. The club has gone down in jazz history as the venue for many major albums.
The club is open every day of the week, and you can attend a concert for about $30. As with most other clubs, remember to make a reservation, for the venue is often full. You can also watch live streaming concerts on the Internet for about ten dollars (seven pounds). Every Monday, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performs at this historic Manhattan venue.
More information and reservations on their website.
The Iridium Jazz Club
Located on Broadway, the Iridium Jazz Club is one of New York's most popular year-round venues. One of the unique features of this club is its stage, which is placed very close to the audience and gives this venue an extremely warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The Iridium is open every day from 7 pm and offers blues, soul, jazz-rock and fusion music in an unforgettable atmosphere. You can also enjoy food and drink on site.
The Smalls Jazz Club
This club in Greenwich Village was founded in 1993 and has quickly become one of New York's must-see venues for jazz lovers. In this small venue of about 60 seats, many big names such as Norah Jones and Roy Hargrove have already come to give concerts. After being closed for a while due to financial problems, it reopened in 2007 and is now one of the places you should not miss if you want to spend an unforgettable evening listening to authentic New York jazz.
Smalls Jazz Club is open every day. From Sunday to Thursday, you can attend all of the evening's concerts for $20 (£15), while on Fridays and Saturdays, you will have to pay $20 (£15) per concert.
The Dizzy’s Club
This chic club is located on Columbus Circle, on the fifth floor of the Time Warner building. At Dizzy’s Club, you can enjoy live jazz music by renowned artists in a beautiful room with a very pleasant atmosphere. You can also enjoy the breathtaking view of Columbus Circle and Central Park.
During the performance, you can also enjoy a meal or a delicious cocktail. However, in this very exclusive part of New York, prices are often very high, and Dizzy's Club is no exception – expect at least $50 (£38) per person just to watch the show with a soda.
The Birdland is one of the city's legendary venues, created in 1949 as a tribute to the genius saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. This club on Broadway has hosted an incredible number of music and movie stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.
Today, the club is still extremely popular and continues to host the biggest names, but you can also enjoy all types of jazz concerts in a very friendly atmosphere. The club is open every day from 4:30, 5 or 5:30 pm and closes at 1 am. You will have to pay between $25 and $50 (£19 and £38) depending on the concert and the ticket chosen. You can also have a drink or a meal there, for the minimum price of $20 (£15) per person, which is quite reasonable.
The 55 Bar
If you want to see a jazz concert in a typical atmosphere, I strongly encourage you to check out this little club in Greenwich Village. Don't hesitate to book your place to make sure you will get a seat in this tiny club.
At 55 bar, jazz, blues and funk musicians perform every day of the week, and you can attend their concerts for $15. There are also some great cocktails to try. There are several concerts every night, starting at 7 pm – but you'll want to get there a little earlier if you want to pick a good seat.
Au 55 bar, des musiciens de jazz, de blues et de funk se produisent tous les jours de la semaine, et vous pourrez assister à leurs concerts pour 15 $ (£11.50). Vous aurez également l’occasion de goûter à quelques cocktails très réussis. Plusieurs concerts sont organisés chaque soir, à partir de 19 h, mais mieux vaudra arriver un peu plus tôt si vous voulez choisir votre place.
Address: 55 Christopher St, NY 10001 — New York
You can find a lot of information on their website.
The Smoke Jazz Club New York & Supper Club
The Smoke Jazz Club & Supper Club is located on Broadway, in the Upper West Side. In this small club, which was founded in 1999, classic jazz is the main focus. The venue is also renowned for its great acoustics. Well-known musicians such as Bill Charlap and Wynton Marsalis perform here regularly.
This club is suitable for jazz fans as well as for people who want to learn about this music in an authentic way. It is open daily from 5:30 pm to 3 am, and you can dine in and enjoy a typical American meal. On Sundays, you can even go to the club for lunch, from 11 am to 3 pm. Additionally, for $11 (£8.50), you can find the concerts that take place in this venue on the internet via streaming.
And that's it for my article about New York's jazz clubs 😊 I hope it was useful and that you enjoyed it! 😉