If you’re a jazz fan living in London, you’re lucky enough to have access to some of the highest quality and most enjoyable jazz venues and festivals in Europe, if not the world. Take for instance Soho’s Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, which is one of the oldest jazz venues in the world and arguably speaking the best in Europe; Ronnie Scott’s is the place to be for both jazz and a wide variety of music ranging from flamenco and Latin to jive and blues.
The more cutting-edge, modern jazz fan should try The Vortex or Café Oto in East London. Both profess to playing music ‘outside the mainstream’ and The Vortex is regularly selected as one of the top 150 jazz clubs in the world by Downbeat magazine. Drummer Seb Rochford praises the venues for their consistently good atmosphere.
More mainstream venues include The Southbank Centre, which hosts performances every Friday known as Friday Tonic. Taking place in Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Southbank puts up and coming jazz talent on stage in the early evening all for free. Also popular is Roundhouse in Camden, which regularly hosts the jazz ensemble Jazzphonica.
Both Kings Place, the first public built concert hall since 1982, and Wigmore Hall, a leading international venue, in Kings Cross and Marylebone, offer jazz fans the opportunity to enjoy a show in concert hall settings. In September, the Kings Place Festival is offering a weekend packed with over 100 eclectic events, professing a year’s worth of concerts in three days, including jazz. Wigmore Hall, too, has a number of upcoming jazz events and is also hosting American saxophonist Joshua Redman for a series of concerts.
If that has not whet your palate enough, then there are still more jazz clubs to be found! The 606 Club in Chelsea, Battersea’s Le QueCumBar, The Spice of Life in Soho, and Oliver’s in Greenwich are all popular jazz venues with an array of performances available. Also upcoming is the annual London Jazz Festival, which is hailed by The Guardian as “one of the best jazz festivals in the world,” taking place 15-24 November of this year across the city in a variety of venues including some of those mentioned here.
Here are just some of the places where you can listen to the same type of music (Rhythm & Blues & Jazz):
Soho – “Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club” – 47 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4HT
Soho – “Ain’t Nothing But” – 20 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5PZ
Islington – “Round Midnight” – 13 Liverpool Road, Angel, London N1 0RW
Camden – “The Blues Kitchen” – 111-113 Camden High Street, London NW1 7JN
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