Jazz Café, Camden, London NW1

From its humble beginnings in Stoke Newington, the Jazz Café has thrived since it moved to Camden and is recognised as one of London’s most eclectic jazz venues. While the focus has broadened to include more soul, blues and funk than before, the Jazz Café still provides its fair share of big name jazz thrills on a monthly basis. With its mezzanine floor offering diners a prime view of the stage, the food on offer allows some justification of the ‘café’ moniker, yet the open stage and up-close artist/audience aspect of the downstairs is where the action is really at.

The Spin, High Street, Oxford

The Spin has steadily gained a reputation in the jazz world for great music. With a heady atmosphere the audience always manages to temper Their unbridled enthusiasm with a respectful hush for what's happening on the stand.  This hip mix of students and committed jazzophiles, friendly bar staff and relaxed candlelit vibe and groovy sounds  have made it a prime fixture on the UK jazz  scene;  a venue popular with players  and audiences alike.

Vortex Jazz Club, Gillett Street, London N16

The Vortex Jazz Club – a year after successfully relocating from Stoke Newington to Dalston - has gone from strength to strength, becoming part of the cultural hub in central Hackney. While the atmosphere and attitude of London’s famous “listening jazz venue” have been maintained with a smart and stylish interior, the consistency and quality of the music remains extremely high, with monthly appearances by the UK’s most acclaimed and cutting edge artists such as Evan Parker, Django Bates, Dame Cleo Laine and many more alongside prestigious international artists such as Tim Berne and Jerry Bergonzi. Everyone that plays there values both the environment and audience who come prepared to be challenged as well as entertained. With the rejuvenation of the square that the venue overlooks underway and with plans to add a record shop and even to record gigs for sale via download, the Vortex is leading the way as London’s most progressive jazz venue.

606 Jazz Club, Lots Road, London SW10

The 606 Jazz Club originated as a tiny 30-seater basement club at ‘606 Kings Road’, but it found its current location in Chelsea in 1987 moving to the salubrious basement locale of 90 Lots Road. With a warm, friendly atmosphere and informal but funky interior it boasts an intimate live room – that can hold up to 160 people – that also doubles as a dining area. The venue’s distinguished role in the capitol’s jazz scene is as a champion of the cream of UK jazz talent, with nightly performances by the very highest caliber of British jazz musicians. Its program is also distinctly varied with a huge variety of styles finding space in the listings. From sublime mainstream artists like Bobby Wellins and Pete King, to top vocal talents like Claire Martin and Ian Shaw, to edgy sax talents Toni Kofi and Gilad Atzmon and many more the consistency never falters. Receiving the 2006 Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Venue the 606 remains one of London most essential and vital jazz venues.  

Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club, Tib Street, Manchester

Located in the bohemian northern quarter of the city Matt & Phred’s is a club that is thriving and bursting with energy reflecting Manchester’s renewed sense of cultural identity. With free entry Monday to Thursday and paid for entry on Friday and Saturday the venue boasts a proper stage and PA; this is all a far cry from some dank corner of a smoky northern pub. Wooden floors, red walls, a high ceiling, plentiful tables and seats, not to mention the big, funky looking bar all help create a vibrant atmosphere. With an impressive range of tasty homemade pizzas and Tapas on offer it’s a complete night out for music fans of all persuasions.

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