Jazz music: the best venues in the UK
As Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man” hits theaters Friday, we take inspiration from the director’s jazz soundtracks to take a look at the UK’s coolest places for jazz.
If you’ve seen any Woody allen movie, there’s a good chance your toe has stomped on the wonderful jazz music he always uses in his soundtracks. With the director’s new film Irrational man in theaters on Friday September 11th, with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone, we bring you a list of the UK’s best jazz spots. The crowd – you will know where to go to find out more.
Scroll down to hear the jazzy soundtrack for the Irrational Man trailer
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at Ronnie Scott
Named after the iconic British jazz saxophonist, it’s no surprise that other famous saxophonists have performed in this intimate venue. Musicians who have performed include, but are not limited to, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, and Sonny Stitt. Although it serves food, you don’t need to eat to sit down – but you do need a ticket. Ronnie Scott’s is a great jazz bar if you want to know who you’re going to see playing that night. This bar does not allow everyone with an instrument to enter and jam. This means that if you want to attend, book in advance. There are almost always two shows per night, one in the early evening and another in the late evening.
47 Frith Street, Soho, London
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If you’re looking for something this intimate, but with more of an emphasis on improvisation, Vortex will do the trick. Anyone can come with their music and take the stage. You are almost sure to witness greatness, whether it is a promising artist or a well-known jazz band like Polar Bear. In 2013, this venue won the Live Jazz Award, hosting nearly 400 performances in one year. They encourage their performers to improvise and experiment on stage for their audience. What we love most about this venue is that it’s run by a non-profit organization, which means ticket prices are affordable and the volunteers are passionate.
11 Gillett St, London
The 606 Club has been around for over 30 years and has been run by musician Steve Rubie since the mid-1970s. Much of the 606 Club’s audience is made up of other musicians, so you might even spot someone well-known. sitting next to you in the crowd. What makes this club unique is that it has always existed to focus on promoting and supporting British jazz artists first, then visitors, if at all. They book around 20 artists per week, making them the largest employer of UK artists in the whole of the UK. It’s a more upscale place, but maintains a relaxing atmosphere. It is also quite affordable. You can also join the membership program for certain benefits, but this is not required for participation.
90 Lots Road, Chelsea, London
Matt and Phreds
In the trendy north of Manchester, this venue has earned a reputation for showcasing the best jazz artists. With local and international artists on the program, Matt and Phreds puts on an incredible night out, six days a week, with free admission Monday and Thursday evenings. On weekends the door charge is Â£ 5 which isn’t too high a price for great music – but it’s best to book in advance and get a table because it’s a lively place.
64 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LW
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You will most certainly forget that you are in the middle of a city once you step into this cool and cool jazz bar. Being located in Glasgow city center, it is a very popular venue for jazz lovers, with performances almost every night. The decor is also a nod to the jazz era and the place even has its own specially designed poufs. This place is busy every day of the week, probably in part because there is no entrance fee.
203-205 Bath Street, Glasgow
Blue Dog is a jazz piano bar, where many resident jazz pianists come to play for audiences almost daily. Just about everyone can be found at this bar – professionals young and old, couples, friends and solo jazz fans. To fully enjoy the experience a weekend is best, but if you are looking for a more laid back night out then midweek will be perfect.
151 W George St, Glasgow
A popular venue that offers free admission, The Caledonia invites local as well as international artists to perform for the evening. Most of the shows take place on weekends and include jazz, Cajun, blues and soul. The club even offers instrument lessons during the week, some of which are free. Locals love this place – and you can even bring your dog.
22 CalÃ©donie Street, Liverpool
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This is the place to go for all things jazz with all the sounds you could possibly want: soul, blues, funk and more! Performers range from local residents of Edinburgh to international touring groups. There are several shows per night, which makes for a non-stop atmosphere. With around 22 performances per week and an emphasis on modern sound, this bar is not only one of the best jazz venues in Edinburgh, but across Scotland. The audience is generally made up of locals of all ages, musicians and tourists. Also, fun fact: none of the revenue from the tickets goes to the venue itself, all the revenue goes to the musicians.
1A Chambers Street, Edinburgh
The jam house
This cool venue promises to be one of the best places to catch a live jazz performance in the Birmingham area. Its three floors can accommodate 600 people, and the second level has a fantastic balcony that overlooks the stage, so club-goers can watch shows from below or from above. The Jam House attracts a variety of people: families, friends, professionals and more. A particularly ideal location if you want to throw a party, as the club offers custom cake and cupcake making services for hire.
Caroline Street, Birmingham
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Jazz Berts Bar
This is Belfast’s only true jazz bar, boasting 1930s American glamor tucked away in the Merchant Hotel. Monday to Sunday, meet before 9 p.m. to attend the jazz show that evening. If you prefer a more relaxing atmosphere, join the Berts Jazz Bar on a Saturday or Sunday between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. for a side of live music with your brunch / lunch. And for those who like late evenings on weekends, be aware that there is an entrance fee of Â£ 10 for a seated area after 8:30 p.m.
16 Skipper Street, Belfast