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New York Insider – Guide to the Best Jazz Clubs NYC

If you like jazz, New York does not disappoint – from big names to up-and-comers the Big Apple has it all

The music scene in New York is second to none. Many of the biggest globally recognised acts grace this capital with their presence frequently and you’ll find world-class residencies in some of the smallest clubs – you just need to know where to find them... If you’re looking for jazz clubs NYC is the place to find them.

Dizzy's Club

Not many jazz clubs promise a vista overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle which is only one of the reason’s why Dizzy’s Club in the Time Warner Centre is a must-visit. The venue will make you feel like you’ve walked onto a movie set with its modern clean lines, big windows and dark and tonal décor. While it may look overly prestigious, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and it’s been championed as the best audio experience of any jazz club New York. Historically, it has boasted all the big-names like Wynton Marsalis, Paquito d’Rivera, Mary Stallings, and Terry Waldo to name a few. Top tip: If you’re planning a visit for the holidays, book tickets for Christmas Eve with Barry Harris to get you in the spirit.

Location: 10 Columbus Circle (Upper West Side)
How to get there: Subway: A, C, B, D, 1 to 59th St–Columbus Circle
Opening hours: Set times at 7.30pm & 9.30pm and late-night sessions Tues-Sat 11.30pm

Iridium

Famous for hosting Les Paul for almost 15 years, Iridium will always be a jazz club New York can be proud of. Forever a full house, this bustling Broadway club has been around since the early 90s and has undergone numerous expansions and renovations to allow for its growing audience. Its popularity has never waned and on its wall of fame are acts like Kenny Garrett, Jacky Terrasson and Kenny Barron. Nowadays you can catch names like Jimmy Scott and Mike Stern so make sure to get there early, this place is known far and wide.

Location: 1650 Broadway (Midtown)
How to get there: Subway: N, Q, R to 49th St; 1 to 50th St
Opening hours: Weds-Mon 7pm – Midnight

Nublu Classic

If you’re looking for an ‘insiders’ only jazz New York experience, then Nublu is the one. Nestled in the hipster Alphabet City in East Village, it’s a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place. Look out for a small blue light to indicate you’ve fount it and step inside to a vibrant scene of offbeat jazz and avant-garde names. If you plan your visit on a Wednesday, you’ll be in luck for some live Brazilian music. Due to its popularity, it has expanded over to its sister Nublu 151 a few blocks away, where you’ll also find a top line up of live acts. Tip: it’s cash only – so make sure you bring plenty, especially for the bar!

Location: 62 Ave C (East Village)
How to get there: Subway: F to Lower East Side–Second Ave
Opening hours: Mon–Thu & Sun 5pm–2am; Fri & Sat 5pm–3am

Mezzrow

Eponymously named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, this is one of the most iconic basement jazz clubs NYC has to offer. Run by musicians for musicians, Mezzrow is a relaxed environment where jazz aficionados can enjoy some of the best jazz pianists in the city in an intimate atmosphere. Mezz himself was one of the most renowned musicians of the Chicago jazz scene in the 1920’s and played with the likes of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Jimmy Noone – to name a few. In his legacy, Mezzrow pays homage to this legendary musician with acts like Jon Davis, Spike Wilner and Pasquale Grasso.

Location: 163 West 10th Street (Greenwich Village)
How to get there: Subway: 1, 2 to Christopher Street
Opening hours: Sets at 8pm, 9.30pm, 11pm and Midnight (after-hours)

Smalls

When you think of New York jazz, an image of a dimly lit basement with tables packed knee-to-knee springs to mind. Well, that’s exactly what a night at Smalls promises. Here you’ll find rising talent in the New York jazz scene experimenting with a new flair and modern take on bebop and hard bop as well as more contemporary fusions. It’s a cosy space with only a 60-guest capacity, and it’s popular with the locals, too, so make sure to get there early. You won’t get dinner here, but you will find beer on tap, so settle in for the night – you’re always guaranteed a good time. To get a feel for the sets, check out their previously recorded live shows on their website. Tip: if you stay there long enough, chances are you’ll get a seat throughout the night even if it’s full!

Location: 183 West 10th Street (Greenwich Village)
How to get there: Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq
Opening hours: 7.30pm – 10.pm; 10.30pm – 1am; 1am – 4am

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