Let’s face it – live music is great. It heals the soul, brings people together and ignites emotions from within. If you fancy a groovin’ night whilst you sip on a martini, then there’s more to London’s jazz scene than Ronnie Scotts and Camden’s Jazz Cafe… let us take you on a tour:
Hands down one of the coolest bars in London. Nightjar has a cosy interior and a fantastic atmosphere. It’s a speakeasy style cocktail bar featuring drinks that are oozing with panache. Their ingenious creations for containing beverages certainly needs a mention. Of course, there’s top notch live jazz too. All of this, making for an inventive, quirky and enjoyable evening – what more could you want?!
Upcoming event: 10th Feb -Benoit Viellefon Quintet; beautiful songs from the 20s, 30s and 40s including, Russian-folk, Latin American and Cuban dance music.
Go if: Drinks in extravagant glasses with dry ice do it for you
Dalston Jazz Bar N16
Trendy Dalston always has something going on, and in the latter half of the week it comes in the form of jazz and weird food. A night at the Dalston Jazz Bar is a total sensory experience featuring a foot tapping set list of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and Soul until the early hours of the morning, as well as a menu to tingle your tastebuds. From kangaroos to crocodiles, carnivores among you step forward (there are veggie options available too!) To complement your meal, their head chef has an alter ego – DJ Chef Roberts. When he stops sautéing veg, he starts spinning records.
This intimate jazz venue opened almost 30 years ago and it is still a vital hub for the local artistic community, with more than 400 performances taking place there each year. They aim to bring music to a wider audience, whilst nurturing emerging talent. Vortex, which is run by volunteers, knows how to do jazz with unmissable performances and a buzzing atmosphere. Plus, they’ve got a decent selection of local craft beers and they serve some hefty burgers. Head down for a delicious evening with delicious music.
606 Club SW10
Walk through a prison-esque gate, tread the steel stairs down into the depths of Lots Road and enter into an atmospheric snug as you listen to some of the best live Jazz, Latin and RnB in London. The food has mixed reviews and you can only drink if you eat, but what people take away from an evening at 606 Club is not how full their bellies are or how many alcoholic beverages they managed to consume. The night is more importantly defined by the relaxing atmosphere and the incredible music. The talent possessed by those who perform here is difficult to convey. So, go check it out instead!
Upcoming: 31st January – ‘The Engine ft.. Al Cherry, Jim Knight, Andrew McKinney & Pat Illingworth: cooking from the get-go…a funky stew of bass, drums and sax.
Go if: you’re hip and like the whole underground vibe.
Boisdale of Canary Wharf E14
If you want something a little more fancy-schmancy to impress your date, then this place could be just the one for you, but the postcode comes with a price – of course. Be prepared to spend more of your coin on food and drink here. However, it’s difficult to complain when the venue is as beautiful as this – deep red walls dotted with vintage framed artwork. It’s a large space garnished with dark oak furniture and a gloriously stocked whiskey bar. If you’re wanting to go all out, book a table in the cigar lounge as you listen to live Jazz. Boisdale is without a doubt a night for indulging.
Upcoming: 7th February – New Orleans to New York with TJ Johnson and his band, a cocktail of cool jazz and rolling blues that brings to mind Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
Go if: you want to wine and dine
Jazz After Dark W1D
This place is for those who want something with a more raw, gritty vibe – something that’s a bit rough around the edges. I’m warning you now, it’s a far cry from the Boisdale! But, if you’re after something that’s less…how should I put it…pretentious, then Jazz After Dark will be right up your street. Amy Winehouse started playing here at the age of 16 and she brought a rare magic to the place that still remains. Perhaps more shrine-like than necessary as pictures of Amy decorate the walls, but despite this, it’s an iconic venue with a great atmosphere and a whole lotta history.
Upcoming – 27th January: Jada Funk; all-stars funk band, Vocal led performing an evening of up-tempo jazz / soul and funk.
Go if: you are a Winehouse fanatic
There we go! That’s CLiKD’s lowdown of Jazz in London. There are some real gems dotted around the city with more atmosphere and spark than you could ever imagine! Sometimes, you just need a little advice on where to head in such a busy and bustling place. So, now you know the hot spots, there are no excuses for a boring coffee or pub date – do something different!