Jazz music is an iconic style of music in New York City. Dating back to the 1930s when Jazz was first introduced to the city, there has been a tremendous amount of artists that have been produced. From legends like Tony Bennet, to new up and coming artists like Robert Glasper. The history is so deep you could take years researching and still not know everything. But to give you a taste here are some of the best jazz clubs in New York City.
Blue Note, 131 West 3rd St, New York, NY 10012
Having a vision to create a jazz club in Greenwich Village that would respect musicians in a comfortable setting. Blue Note’s owner and founder, Danny Bensusan, had the idea in order to preserve the history of jazz. Jazz trumpeter and singer Dizzy Gillespie, and many others, frequented Blue Note often, even going as far to call it a home. It is said that this club in the West Village is a place where progression and innovation are encouraged every night. However it’s the unpredictability of what will happen next that draws the crowds. It’s not uncommon to see stars like Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and many others in the audience. One minute you could be sharing a drink with someone, next thing you know they can be on stage with the band!
Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th St, New York, NY 10016
Ever since its formation in 2000, Jazz Standard’s been known for many great things. It’s warm, comfortable environment, the award winning Southern cuisine by Blue Smoke, and of course the world-class jazz music that they show off. Being one of the top jazz venues in the world, Jazz Standard is a modern club that hosts everything from private events to large parties. Come by on a “Mingus Monday” to see musicians honor the memory of the late Charles Mingus. Mingus is celebrated as one of the most prominent figures in American music. On Sunday afternoons come watch the jam sessions of The Standard Youth Orchestra. It is open to the public with no cover charge. Come visit the club that recorded albums for legendary artists and groups like the Mingus Big Band, Rene Marie, and many more.
Birdland Jazz Club, 315 West 44th St, New York NY, 10036
Created 60 years ago on the 15th of December 1949, Birdland is one of the oldest and best jazz clubs in New York City. Many people may say, “Wow 60 years, the place must be dying or run down or something right?”, and you would be wrong. The club is still as popular as ever, and has a booking history with names amongst the best of the best. Names like: Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Tommy Igoe, and many, many more. Shows start as early as 5:30 PM. It’s said that the live music played at this club has established itself as an essential part of New York, and to the history of jazz.
Jazz at Lincoln Center, 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10023
“Throughout history, jazz musicians have inspired and have been inspired by many art forms to create new works and express cultural statements.” That’s how Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis feels about jazz music, and what better place is there to experience such an art than, Jazz at Lincoln Center. For 30 years, it continued the tradition through its programs and became the world’s first venue devoted to jazz in 2004. Their mission is to give the full spectrum of the jazz experience. Marsalis believes that jazz represents the best of American culture. It shows off diversity and soulfulness under all circumstances. It’s a shame you live across the country is what you say? Experience jazz nights live too from their live stream! With a global audience of almost two million people over the world, more than half a million participants in the Essentially Ellington program, and touring in over 400 cities, in 41 countries, and on five continents, Jazz at Lincoln Center is the place to experience live jazz.
Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave South, New York, NY 10014
Created in 1935, the Village Vanguard is a basement club that also goes by many nick names. Called by some as the “Camelot of Jazz Rooms” or the “Carnegie Hall of Cool”, the Village Vanguard is one the oldest clubs, being over 80 years old. On the clubs 80th birthday, it was said by Loren Schoenberg, the artistic director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, “There is no place in the planet where so many greats played for so many years”. Starting out originally as a folk club, the Village Vanguard changed to jazz in 1957 featuring artists like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Cecil Taylor. If you want village jazz, then the Vanguard is the place to be. Gary Giddins, a jazz critic, who held the name The Village Voice, said, “It’s the most magical jazz room in the world.”