One of the pillars of music and culture around the world, jazz is America's indigenous art form - born in the United States and eventually spanning the globe in its impact and influence. Declared "a rare and valuable national American treasure" by Congress in 1987, jazz has been an integral part of the Los Angeles experience for decades, from historic Central Avenue to the Playboy Jazz Festival and La La Land.
Read on for the best jazz clubs and weekly music nights in Los Angeles.
Opened in December 2009, the bluewhale is a live jazz club, art gallery and bar located on the third floor of Weller Court in Little Tokyo. The brainchild of jazz vocalist Joon Lee, bluewhale has earned praise for its eclectic lineup of forward thinking musicians, while performers enjoy the intimate setting and appreciative audience that includes a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds.
Boasting spectacular panoramic city views, Perch is a French-inspired rooftop bistro that features two outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and indoor-outdoor lounge and table seating. Perch features a Sunday Champagne Brunch with the Jesse Palter Quartet performing from noon to 3 p.m., followed by the Ben Rose Jazz Group from 7-10 p.m. On Mondays, enjoy jazz renditions of retro and soul by the Molly Miller Trio from 7-10 p.m.
A true L.A. resurrection story, the Rhythm Room was originally a jazz lounge in the basement of the Hotel Hayward and a hotbed of entertainment in the 1940s and '50s. The lounge closed when the hotel - along with the Financial District - fell into disrepair in the 1970s. Reopened in 2017, Rhythm Room is one of Downtown L.A.'s top underground bars and provides a change of pace from the area’s hushed cocktail temples and booming dance clubs. Much of the original architecture remains intact, notably the marble staircase that leads guests down from street level to a cozy World War II-styled bar with retro furnishings. Live jazz plays as it did in the original space, and there are plenty of games throughout the space - darts, billiards, ping pong, and shuffleboard, plus board games that line the walls.
Saturday Night Jazz DTLA - Bar Fedora at Au Lac
Discreetly located inside the award-winning vegan restaurant, Au Lac, Bar Fedora hosts Saturday Night Jazz DTLA every week from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Bar Fedora is an Art Deco-style performance room held over from the restaurant's previous incarnation as First & Hope Supper Club. The music is curated by jazz vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia and includes straight-ahead jazz, vocal, Latin and more. There is a two-item minimum (dinner and/or drinks).
Sunday Funday - FIGat7th
FIGat7th in Downtown L.A. hosts Sunday Funday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every second and fourth Sunday. Taking place in the TASTE Food Hall Courtyard, Sunday Funday features live jazz accompanied by tasty brunch and lunch eats and drinks by City Tavern and Loteria Grill, as well as the global eateries of TASTE Food Hall.
Keep the weekend going at the landmark Grand Central Market, which features Jazz Night every Sunday 7-9 p.m. on the Hill Street Platform.
Faith & Flower
Located on the ground floor of the WaterMarke Tower in Downtown L.A., Faith & Flower is a bustling Roaring 20s-meets-21st-century restaurant serving globally inspired cuisine and craft cocktails. On Wednesday nights, live jazz adds to the festive dining room ambiance along with drink specials at the bar.
Le Petit Paris
Spanning 8,500 square feet of the historic El Dorado Building in Downtown L.A., Le Petit Paris is a French brasserie that smoothly transitions from classic to modern throughout the expansive space. Le Petit Paris hosts live jazz every Wednesday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. There's a new band every week and Happy Hour 4-7 p.m. at the bar to help guests get warmed up for the performance.
The Varnish & Seven Grand
Two of the top bars in the 213 Hospitality collective offer jazz music. Hidden inside Cole's on 6th Street, The Varnish features live jazz every Sunday-Tuesday after 9 p.m. Renowned as one of the best whiskey bars in the country, Seven Grand showcases free live music at 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday - there's Dixieland jazz on Sundays and West Coast jazz on Thursdays.
Step into Little Easy and you'll be transported from bustling 5th Street to the Garden District of New Orleans. Pass through the bar and living room setting in the front, walk down a winding hallway, and you'll discover a hidden indoor courtyard with a long bar, fountain, porch swing, ample seating and a stage for live performances and DJs. On Tuesday and Thursday, the Little Easy features live rotating jazz and New Orleans-style bands 8–11 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, enjoy live music during brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Located in the heart of historic Chinatown, General Lee’s boasts a stunning Tiki-style design and multiple bars serving Asian-inspired cocktails across its soaring two-level interior. Entering General Lee’s is like stepping into a modern Film Noir, especially on Tuesday nights, when live jazz is featured in the upstairs lounge.
Rockwell Table & Stage
Located just a few doors down from The Dresden, Rockwell Table & Stage features a newly renovated indoor supper club and a bi-level open-air patio restaurant. An accomplished jazz pianist, actor Jeff Goldblum fronts the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20-25, plus two-item minimum.
Legendary jazz musicians Marty and Elayne perform every Tuesday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. at The Dresden, the landmark Los Feliz restaurant and lounge that opened in 1954. On Tuesdays, Marty and Elayne host open mic night in the lounge - bring your best voice and music charts, or choose a standard and roll with it.
Catalina Bar & Grill
Living up to its slogan "Nothing But the Best In Jazz," Catalina Bar & Grill has welcomed a Who's Who of jazz legends, including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Ray Brown, Joe Williams, Max Roach, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, Benny Carter, Tony Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman and many more. Shows are Monday-Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (some events have a second show at 10:30). Sunday shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Admission varies, plus dinner or two-drink minimum. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
Jazz at the "A" Frame
One of the most unique music events in L.A., Jazz at the "A" Frame first hosted live jazz in June 2001, giving musicians a showcase in the intimate setting of a hillside home with outstanding acoustics and an attentive audience of true jazz fans. The monthly performances take place on Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. The donation for events is $45 and up, and includes wine, beer, soft drinks and a light buffet. Attendance is by reservation only. Call 310-659-9169 or e-mail [email protected]. Payment must be received in advance at least ten days prior to the event. For info on upcoming events, visit the "A" Frame website.
Jazz at LACMA
A celebration of L.A.’s finest jazz musicians, Jazz at LACMA features the art of jazz as practiced by leading Southern California artists. The program continues to be one of the museum’s most popular offerings, having previously featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. During the season, Jazz at LACMA takes place at 6 p.m. every Friday at the central BP Pavilion, near Chris Burden's iconic Urban Light. Admission is free, there are no reservations for seating. For the full lineup of performers, visit the Jazz at LACMA page.
Jazz Eclectic - Riviera 31 at Sofitel
Located in the Sofitel L.A. at Beverly Hills, Riviera 31 is a sophisticated cocktail lounge with a Mediterranean-style menu and a decor that takes visitors on a visual journey through the history of the French Riviera. Every Monday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Riviera 31 hosts Jazz Eclectic, featuring Ryan Cross and his band playing classics and new tunes. You never know who's going to drop by - in October 2015, the legendary Stevie Wonder sat in with the band!
Pip's On La Brea
Opened in 2010, Pip's On La Brea features classic Italian food and top notch jazz on the patio. Kick off the week in style with Pip's Sunday Champagne Jazz Brunch, featuring sax man Cal Bennett. Other highlights include "the dazzling" Barbara Johnson on Tuesday nights, Reginald Paul on Thursday, "Jazzy Soul" with Jeff Robinson on Friday, and the David Leech Trio on Saturday. To see the full schedule, visit the Pip's Live Music Calendar.
Located in a Bel-Air strip mall, Vibrato is the brainchild of Grammy Award-winning music legend Herb Alpert. Vibrato features top notch jazz performances in a warm, elegant setting with superb sound design and artwork by Alpert himself. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who performs regularly at Vibrato, recently told The Hollywood Reporter, "I've been to jazz clubs all over the country, and Vibrato ranks with the best of them. The acoustics are fantastic; the vibe is great." The dinner menu features California cuisine, Italian favorites, classic steakhouse cuts and vegetarian dishes. Cover and show times vary, for more info visit the Vibrato Performance Calendar.
Lobby Lounge - Mr. C
"The heart and soul" of Mr. C, the Lobby Lounge Bar is ideal for relaxing and socializing on lush sofas while enjoying Cipriani specialties like the Bellini and Carpaccio. Every Friday and Saturday night, enjoy live classic American music like the Leigh Vance Jazz Ensemble, curated by Shawn Amos.
The Jazz Bakery
Founded in 1992 by Ruth Price, The Jazz Bakery was the first nonprofit performance space in the country to present jazz concerts twice nightly, 50 weeks a year. Originally located in Culver City’s historic Helms Bakery building, The Jazz Bakery is in the process of building a new permanent home that will become a world-class center for jazz. Designed by acclaimed architect and jazz enthusiast Frank Gehry, the new venue will be located next to the historic Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City’s burgeoning Cultural Corridor. The Jazz Bakery will host year-round performances and youth outreach programs in two state-of-the-art theaters with two distinctive lobbies, the West Coast Interactive Jazz Museum, an art gallery, a café and a pop-up shop.
At the landmark Culver Hotel, the Grand Lobby hosts jazz styles ranging from old school to Latin and modern. Vintage armchairs, classic movie projections and up-and-coming artists add to the mood, setting the stage for a stylish evening of music every night after 7:30 pm.
Opened in the fall of 2017, Sam First is located minutes from LAX in the burgeoning Westchester neighborhood. Owner Paul Solomon has reimagined and modernized the classic jazz bar, blending live music with craft cocktails and stunning design. Renowned Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano repurposed industrial food processing tubing, which lines the walls of the bar, to maximize the acoustic quality. Live jazz from renowned musicians on Saturdays and Sundays, with sets at 8pm and 9:30pm. Cover is $15-20, 21 and over.
Located on Manchester Boulevard in Inglewood, Lavender Blue is the brainchild of Marsha Tekeste, who has three decades of experience as a nightclub owner and special events creator. Lavender Blue hosts live jazz featuring the Jacque Lesure Trio and guests every Sunday from 6-10 p.m. The restaurant and lounge has become a primary destination for special occasions from wedding receptions to birthday parties, showers to networking meetings, fundraisers to family reunions.
The World Stage
The World Stage is an educational and performance art space in Leimert Park Village, the heart of L.A.'s African American cultural community. Founded in 1989 by renowned jazz drummer Billy Higgins and poet Kamau Daáood, The World Stage has grown to assume a pioneering and pivotal role in South L.A.’s music and art landscape. With a capacity of 100, The World Stage programs affordable weekly workshops in music and literary arts, and ticketed performances from a range of artists. Performances at The World Stage are generally on Friday and Saturday evenings. Check the calendar for upcoming events.
The Lighthouse Café
Located on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, The Lighthouse Café has showcased jazz since May 1949. Under the name "The Lighthouse," the venue was one of the key West Coast jazz clubs from the 1950s through the late 1970s. Legendary jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley have performed and made live recordings at The Lighthouse. Today the club books a wide range of music acts, from jazz to reggae and rock.
The Lighthouse Cafe is being discovered by a new generation of fans, thanks to its appearance in La La Land as the jazz bar where Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) hangs out. When Mia (Emma Stone) tells him she doesn't like jazz, Sebastian takes her to the Lighthouse Cafe.
The Baked Potato
Opened by keyboardist Don Randi in 1970, The Baked Potato in Studio City is touted as "by musicians, for musicians," with a focus on jazz fusion artists and featuring great sound in an intimate setting. Two shows nightly, at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Cover varies, two drink minimum.
Upstairs at Vitello's
The 120-seat Upstairs at Vitello's in Studio City features nightly performances that range from jazz to Latin, R&B, cover bands and comedy in a state-of-the-art supper club setting.
A hidden gem in Topanga, Canyon Bistro & Wine Bar features Randy Strom on the Warr guitar every Monday from 7-9 p.m. Other music nights on Thursday and Friday feature the Bistro All-Stars and special guests. For more info, check the Canyon Bistro calendar.
Opened in 1984, Parkway Grill showcases Regional American Cuisine with a seasonal, market-driven approach that incorporates diverse influences and classic French technique. Live music has been part of the Parkway Grill experience since day one. Music director David Arnay has been with Parkway for more than 20 years, specializing in jazz and standards. Parkway Grill features live music every night but Sunday, with a solo performer each night except Friday, when Arnay brings a jazz duo.
Originally named The Crossbow, The Barkley Restaurant opened in 1951 at the corner of Huntington Drive and Fremont in South Pasadena. The Richard Glaser Quartet plays live jazz at The Barkley every Sunday night from 7–11 p.m. There's live music every Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. featuring The Barkley's resident bands and special guests like The Big Butter Jazz Band.
The Blue Guitar
Located at Arroyo Seco Golf Course in South Pasadena, The Blue Guitar presents jazz shows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $15 for table seating and $10 general admission. The Arroyo Seco Grill has food and a full bar. If you prefer to bring our your own there's a $10 corkage fee.