What do Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, and Kermit Ruffins have in common? All are great jazz artists and all came from New Orleans. The city makes a strong case for anyone to visit. It is one of the most vibrant cities around, chock full of warm affectionate people, delicious food and most importantly, incredible live jazz. This is the birthplace of jazz conceived from the blues, African American-derived music form that paid homage to lost love, injustice and adversity. This, coupled with New Orleans’ traditional African drumming, opera and marching bands harmonised to form what we now know as jazz.
If the people of New Orleans are made up of cloud-like beignets, enticing Creole cuisine and iconic streetcar bells, jazz is certainly the blood that runs through every one of their veins. The celebration of this groovy genre is a daily affair: locals and visitors alike will find live jazz being played and practised on every street and corner.
Here, in New Orleans, you will find that jazz is an ever-changing genre. From acid jazz and big band to contemporary and traditional jazz, there’s always a genre of worthy enjoying for everyone. Of course, it can be a little overwhelming. With a multitude of options, travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a location to swing by. To make it a little easier, we’ve gathered some of the best spots to see live music when you’re in the Big Easy.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.
With so many jazz clubs around, even locals are spoilt for choice. Many who can’t decide where to spend the night end up in Preservation Hall, one of the world’s most respected music venues. The band here “preserves” New Orleans jazz as it was a hundred years ago, playing five spectacular hour-long sets every night.
For a little rustic vibe, enter The Spotted Cat Music Club. It’s just a couple steps from the French Quarter and comes alive every night, brimming with guests in a cosy atmosphere. Expect old school jazz here, complete with brassy quartets, clarinet solos and big voices.
Visitors to the Maple Leaf Bar will find an eclectic mix of people, from tourists to locals alike. This bar plays hosts to numerous acts from a wide range of musical styles, including regular poetry nights. Swing by on a Monday, where you will find 2018 Grammy Lifetime Achievement winner George Porter Jr. and his trio performing quality pieces for an unforgettable night.
The Blue Nile is possibly one of the largest venues for live music in New Orleans. They are housed in a double-storeyed building, where local and international musicians host stages for the young and the old. Guests upstairs are privy to a beautiful view overlooking Frenchmen Street, but regardless of where you are, no one is neglected from the Blue Nile’s unique listening menu.
The Jazz Playhouse is a fancier spot for one of those treat-yourself nights. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, the establishment showcases some of New Orleans greatest Jazz talents dishing out countless of earworms throughout the night. Relax with a couple of cocktails while basking in the melodies at this luxurious venue for a wonderful night out.