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Chicago Live Music Jazz Clubs

Chicago Live Music Jazz Clubs

  If you are a fan of jazz music then you can instantly tell when you heard a piece of this dynamic music. The groovy beats will permeate your soul, especially if you enjoy it in an live venue. There are many excellent places around the Chicago area that have jazz clubs where today’s musicians channel the vibe of jazz greats of the past such as Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Duke Ellington are a few others that come to mind that were legendary in their time, but continue to influence hot jazz music today.
There is a distinctive Chicago style jazz that differs from the tunes that come from the south including big jazz cities like New Orleans. For the best in underground jazz clubs you are going to find everything you want in music and more in Chicago. Musicians from all genres of jazz regularly traveled to the city to perform in a variety of intimate venues. Each year the city also holds a special Chicago Jazz Festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend. It’s produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to attract hundreds of unique musical artists to the city. The Jazz Institute of Chicago has a hand in organizing the event which attracts thousands of people to hear its offerings. What’s the best part about it? It’s absolutely free to attend.
Other than the weekend long festival, you can hear many forms of jazz all around the town at clubs and bars that specialize in live musical acts. Here are some of the best places to listen to the smooth sounds of jazz throughout the Chicagoland area.


Andy’s Jazz Club and Restaurant

  This place is a staple on the mainstream jazz club front. You can’t beat it’s concert like venue of artists that regularly frequent the place. Around the corner from the club is the Jazz Record Mart, so you can pick up an underground copy of some of the artists you might hear play at Andy’s. Some of the upcoming artists playing there are local favorites, Dana Hall and Mike Smith. As a small venue this club boasts an intimate appeal if you desire a low key evening out on the town. They have a great menu of food as well with most item’s below twenty bucks.

Constellation Music Performance Space

  As a newer bar that was renovated from the Viaduct Theater space, this club attracts a younger crowd with fresher jazz favorites. Upcoming performers include Darius Jones, Matt Gold and Fay Victor of the Tyshawn Sorey Due. Tickets usually run anywhere from $18 to $20, but you can find some bargain $5 shows as well during certain times of the month. The bar has a variety of daily Happy Hours specials that run from 6pm-10pm so there is plenty of time to knock back a few cocktails while you enjoy the tunes.

Elastic Arts

  An all ages club that appeals to a young and old crowd alike, the jazz at Elastic is cutting edge and cool. This space is truly all about the music with bands playing nightly there. Founded in 2002, this not-for-profit venue is so committed to showcasing local talent that many people flock to see what they have going on. You can visit their webpage for an upcoming calendar of jazz musicians who will be playing there.

The Green MIll Cocktail Lounge

  If you have a fetish for history, you are going to love the Green Mill which used to cater to the likes of Al Capone and other gangsters who in their heyday used to frequent this space. Opened since the 1920’s this venue today is solely about the music, no criminals allowed! Local jazz greats Kim Gordon and Patricia Barber regularly have gigs there. This is a sophisticated club for a night on the town with an environment that is warm and lovely. Drinks usually run about $7 a pop so make sure you sip slowly to enjoy the total experience of being in this historical place.

Hungry Brain Bar

  This is a renovated bar that is dedicated to experimental jazz, so you are always going to find unique local jazz innovators playing regularly here. The same is unassuming and low key, so it’s more of a local bar scene that caters to people who live in the neighborhood. There are a variety of daily drink specials during Happy Hour so come thirsty, keep your ears open, and be ready to be wowed by some funky jazz beats. They are open everyday except Tuesdays from 7pm til 2am.

The Jazz Showcase

  Regularly winning awards for being one of the best jazz clubs in Chicago, this place has been around since it opened in 1947. It’s filled with the history of jazz greats that have played there in the past. You can catch great live music nightly with some of the upcoming shows being, Natalies Woods playing Roland Kirk and the Dee Alexander Quartet. They are open 7 nights a week, but Sunday they do offer free admission to kids under 12, so they make it a day for families who love to enjoy jazz music together, which is a truly great activity.

Room 43

  This upscale space has a Hyde Park Jazz Society night each Sunday with half price tickets for students. Tickets are $10 normally for this weekly event, but during the rest of the week they have a variety a jazz acts in the mix. Fred Jackson and Victor Goins routinely play this venue which is less dive bar and more upscale restaurant.

Rosa’s Lounge

  For a basic club, Rosa’s is all about the drinks and the music. There aren’t any big design assetic to enjoy here. Just have a drink, sit back, and soak in the tunes of jazz legends that come through here monthly. Sugar Blue and Billy Branch play her quite a bit, and the owner likes to roam around the place welcoming his guest like friends. He even named his bar after his mother. How sweet is that?




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