5.) Hot Clube de Portugal, Lisbon
Europe’s most western capital city contains one of Europe’s oldest and most legendary jazz clubs: Hot Clube. This club was created in 1948, has had legends such as Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Dexter Gordon inside its doors. And on 22th and 24th this past February this 140-person-capacity club just hosted another legendary figure of jazz: the 89-year-old Lou Donaldson, who is a soulful alto sax musician who is inspired by Charlie Parker. So good and so old, old, old. Not so old, however. Jazz is known to reinvent itself over and over again and so has Hot Clube – both physically and metaphorically, following the time that its original grounds went up in flames back in 2009. Luckily, it reopened its doors three years after that and only two doors away all thanks to the love and support of Lisbon citizens and businesses and the work of the foundation that discovered it.
4.) Harris Piano Jazz Bar, Kraków
Jazz spread like fire in Europe in the early 1920s and Poland took part in the swing invasion with much interest, combining it with its own fiddle-based traditional music. However, the second world war put a damper on all of the fun. After the war, amongst Stalin’s repression, jazz came to represent freedom and resistance, so in a lot ways it has a stronger pact here than in the UK, for example.
3.) Donau 115, Berlin
Germany’s main city isn’t lacking in live music venues, for they cover every possible genre. Berlin’s most well-known jazz clubs are the A Trane and Zig Zag, where more well-known artists usually play. Less well known, and much smaller with its 50-person-capacity), is Donau115 in the festive Neukölln region. The club’s schedule covers top-quality up and coming post-bop jazz to – according to of co-owner Chad Matheny – experimental Zappa-influenced atonal intellectual weirdos along with the occasional noisy, scrappy acoustic pop act.
2.) Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen
Denmark’s capital city has various music clubs helping it keep its musical reputation as a jazz sanctuary; a gift that it earned in the 1960s, when hometown world class heroes such as the famous jazz bassist Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen began their careers. Eventually, US celebrities such as Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon and Ben Webster would become Copenhagen citizens – black musicians torn apart by their treatment at home and interested in the warm hospitality given to them by Scandi audiences. Jazzhus Montmartre, a non-profit music club which is supported by the government, brings in nordic greats and star foreign names, such as the UK’s Liane Carroll.
1.) The Verdict, Brighton
Jazz in the UK is quite alive and kicking it to this day where it is located, right beyond the sacred Ronnie Scott’s, which is often sold out and can be rather pricey. People who visit London should definitely check out clubs such as the Vortex, Jazz Cafe, the 606 and Streatham’s best-kept secret, the Hideaway. But the city hasn’t got a strong hold on quality: two streets back from Brighton’s boardwalk, the Verdict is not in the crowded Lanes region but in the rather more formal company of the law courts, hence how it got its name. But, under the control of the exciting Andy Lavender, the only begging heard here is for encores.
The video below shows some of the best jazz cafes around the world!