April 30 is International Jazz Day, so Musement shares some of the best locales for celebrating this soulful music genre around the world.
What is jazz? Rhythm and improvisation, of course, but also smoky, intimate rooms concealed behind grocery store counters, a glass of whiskey on the rocks, the aroma of fine cigars, or the noise of the fish stalls, vibrant colors and the people from all walks of life on the streets of New Orleans.
All of this—and much more—is part of jazz heritage, which originated in New Orleans in the early 19th century, a testimony to the city’s hodgepodge of cultures and traditions.
To celebrate International Jazz Day, here are eight jazz clubs around the world where you can immerse yourself in the rhythm of jazz and its never-ending surprises.
1. Blue Note, Milan
An essential hub for all the jazz fans in Milan and from elsewhere. Top artists from all over the world take turns on the Blue Note’s stage, experimenting with every genre and style of jazz. This elegant establishment is located in the Isola neighborhood, one of the coolest areas of the city. You can have dinner while listening to exquisite music or grab a bite to eat after the show.
2. Café Carlyle, New York
As you may imagine, New York is replete with jazz venues– each neighborhood boasts its own clubs with unique features that showcase diverse genres and traditions. Among these, the one that manages to arouse the most curiosity—since it’s a real treat for both music and film fans—is Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel, which offers live music and cabaret shows every night from both regular and guest performers.
3. Spotted Cat Music Club, New Orleans
New Orleans, the shining star of the jazz world! Just a few steps from the legendary French Quarter is a classic venue for jazz and blues lovers: the festive and lively Spotted Cat Music Club boasts a festive and lively atmosphere. Here, the live performances range all the way from Traditional Modern Jazz to Blues, Funk, and Klezmer as well as many other styles.
4. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago
When it comes to authentic Prohibition-era speakeasies, one cannot overlook the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago, founded in 1907, which became a well-known speakeasy in the ’20s and played an important role in enriching the jazz scene of the early 20th century. The establishment bans cell phones, so patrons can truly focus on the music, making for somewhat of a pleasant journey back in time.
5. Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne
Located on one of the famous narrow streets of Melbourne, the atmosphere at the Paris Cat Jazz Club comes straight from the French capital: every element exudes the old-fashioned charm of Paris in the ’20s and ’30s. This cozy establishment has two separate rooms that create an intimate setting, perfect for listening to the internationally renowned jazz artists who perform here.
6. Caveau de la Huchette, Paris
From a Parisian atmosphere, let’s move on to Paris proper. The stage of the Caveau de la Huchette has seen artists of the caliber of Sidney Bechet play, and a number of scenes from 2017’s Best-Picture-contender (and almost winner!) “La La Land” were shot here.
7. Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London
This is one of the most prominent and enduring jazz clubs in London. Founded in 1959 by its namesake musician, Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club has showcased extraordinary performers: Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and even Jimi Hendrix have performed here. This rich history helps the venue maintain its truly authentic atmosphere, even though it is one of the most popular jazz clubs in London, frequented by both locals and travelers.
8. Porgy & Bess, Vienna
In the Austrian capital, you’ll find a club named after Gershwin’s heartwarming musical, Porgy & Bess, which tells a story of African-Americans in a fictional town in Charleston during the early ’30s. The soundtrack features amazing blues numbers that have earned their place in musical history. This Vienna concert venue also has a music store, gallery, restaurant and recording studio, and and it’s actually run by a non-profit organization whose mission is to combine the more traditional forms of jazz with the contemporary styles of the latest European currents.