Jazz music has always had a strong connection with the culture of New York. Many people argue that New York is the Jazz capital of the world, having experienced some of the most important musical evolutions in the city´s many music bars.
Here at FeelNYC we don’t want you to experience any problems when searching for the best in local swing so have compiled a list of 5 of the best venues in the city.
Lenox Lounge; 288 Lenox Ave., New York, NY 10027
The zebra striped, art deco Lenox lounge shines as a Harlem landmark with acts such as Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane frequenting the microphone back in the day. Nowadays not much has changed with the venue regularly putting on some of the best live music the city has to offer at a reasonable price- $30. As well as live music, the Lenox Lounge has a small kitchen which cooks up classics like mac and cheese and sweet potatoes for the masses.
Smalls Jazz Club; 183 W. 10th St., New York, NY 10014
This quintessential jazz dive is perfect for anyone looking for that little bit of the underground. The small, dark dungeon of a room with open brick and cobble stone makes the perfect venue for the musicians that play there. Smalls had a BYOB policy in place until 2007 when management was changed; shame I know! This place is a must.. Be warned that it does get very full!
Jazz Standard; 116 E. 27th St., New York, NY 10016
A world away from the low ceilinged, underground jazz clubs of the West village, Jazz Standard is one of the most civilized and upscale places to view live music in the city! Located below Danny Meyer´s similarly designed restaurant, the bar is well stocked with high end liquors from all over the world as well as a collection of more than 20 tequilas. What this elegant venue lacks in history and charm that the other western city clubs have, it makes up for it with its clean lines and undisturbed views of the musicians who are playing.
Jazz at Lincoln Center; 33 W. 60th St., New York, NY 10019
Jazz at Lincoln Center is actually a trio of venues currently under the artistic directorship of Wynton Marsalis. The Allen room seats between 310 and 467 people and boasts an amphitheater like seating arrangement along with a 50 by 90 foot window with views over Columbus Circle and Central Park.
The more intimate Club Coca Cola attracts bigger names like Stevie Wonder, Clint Eastwood, Tony Danza to the 140 seated audience as well as the stage.
The separate Rose Theatre space is the most versatile out of all 3 venues. Originally designed to accommodate swing, bebop and swing, the venue now hosts regular opera and symphony as well. This separate space was built only 5 inches apart from the other 2 venues with a layer of soundproofing between in order to reduce vibrations and improve the acoustics of the room.
Village Vanguard; 178 Seventh Ave. South, New York, NY 10014
This wedge shaped venue was opened in the former Greenwich Village in 1934 is known for its flawless acoustics. In the early days the club had a tradition of showcasing bohemian outpouring before it switched to straight Jazz in 1957.
The roster of luminaries includes John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillepsie and Cecil Taylor as well as some of the biggest names in today’s world of Jazz. The venue may look a little rough round the edges with its shabby walls and sketchy staircase but it’s more about the aural experience.
Here at FeelNYC we hope to have solved all your musical problems whilst visiting the home of Jazz.