Las Vegas, Nevada, is the birthplace of flashy and exciting American entertainment, the wild cabaret lifestyle, and, of course, the overwhelming casino experience.
While Vegas may not seem to be connected to jazz, it has a surprisingly thriving modern scene that makes it a great place to visit. We’ll explore this scene by examining the best jazz clubs in Los Vegas to streamline your search.
History of Las Vegas Jazz
Las Vegas jazz centers heavily on providing many entertainers with high-paying gigs.
For example, jazzy crooners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby made big names for themselves here and experienced some high financial success. They played in places like the Sahara, the Sands, the Riviera, and even the Tropicana, all of which still play jazz.
Other performers, like Carol Channing and Liberace, were only tangentially connected to jazz but helped innovate the gaudy, but exciting, Las Vegas entertainment style.
Big dance numbers, high-energy productions, and over-the-top performances highlight Las Vegas jazz even now. So, while jazz and Vegas may not seem synchronous, they go together surprisingly well.
Most Happening Vegas Jazz Areas
As with any entertainment option in Vegas, the strip is where most jazz thrives in this city. Its many entertainment clubs vary depending on your experience.
Do you want to gamble while listening to great jazz?
Or would you rather eat a delicious buffet meal while a high-energy swing band picks up the paces? You can get all of that and more in the entertainment capital of the nation!
As a result, it’s usually pretty simple to find a great jazz club: just head to the strip and start walking.
However, some might exist just outside these busy areas. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top jazz clubs that Las Vegas has to offer.
Each provides different performer types and various entertainment options that may appeal to broad audiences visiting the city.
The Best Jazz Clubs in Las Vegas
The best Las Vegas jazz clubs often have long histories and a surprising authenticity. The most exciting part about Vegas for many people is that constant thrilling atmosphere and almost unbelievably unrealistic experience.
However, these clubs provide an authentic and exciting jazz experience, one that is well worth experiencing if you can’t get enough of this always innovative musical style.
1. Dispensary Lounge
The Dispensary Lounge is a Las Vegas favorite Playboy magazine once rated as the fourth-best dive bar in the country.
That listing does this bar a slight disservice, as it features an acclaimed jazz series that highlights great artists from many genres, like swing, bop, and even blues.
They also host weekend jazz concerts from about 7:30 to 8:00 PM and run till about 11 at night.
This lounge can hold closer to 70 to 80 people, depending on the night. Expect lineups centering on piano trios, horn quartets, and even full blues bands playing their hearts out for you.
2. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened in March 2012 to fulfill a unique Nevada niche: a high-class center for music, theater, and dance.
They regularly hold jazz concerts in multiple genres, including big bands. If you love big band jazz, this is the place to visit!
The tricky thing about attending this facility is that it hosts many discrete events, ranging from jazz to dance performances.
As a result, you need to check their event list to see when events are available.
They typically start at around 7:00 PM every night in a 250-person arena where you can enjoy great audio reproduction.
3. Rose. Rabbit. Lie
This cozy restaurant opens on Thursdays through Sundays and operates from 6:00 PM to midnight.
It provides delicious French dining and seafood options, while also hosting regular weekend concerts.
Their jazz specialty includes more modern takes on classics, with hip-hop and even funk beats entering trad jazz styles.
They typically ask visitors to wear clean and presentable clothing, with minimal athletic wear, t-shirts, baggy jeans, or casual wear.
Concerts typically start around 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and include a few sets of different bands. Expect around 70 to 80 people at each concert, depending on the event.
4. House of Blues
The House of Blues is a popular national concert chain that hosts many concert types.
Las Vegas has hosted blues legends like Buddy Guy, jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, and even rock and roll bands, like Yes.
Open seven days a week from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, you should find a spot here easily.
With a capacity pushing 100 or more people, this remains a fairly cozy environment for jazz audiences.
Expect a lot of acoustic playing in this venue, though you also get plenty of high-energy electric jazz.
Improvisation-based rock bands are also popular here, making it a very diverse option.
5. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
This popular resort not only includes pools, luxurious rooms, jetted hot tubs, and fine dining, but also hosts jazz concerts on the weekends.
Most gigs start around 7:00 PM, with a second set potentially starting at 9:00 PM, depending on the artist. Capacity is around 60 to 70 or so.
Marriott prefers a rather low-key environment for their guests, meaning you’ll probably hear reserved and respectful smooth jazz artists playing popular standards.
But the musicianship quality is high here, and you might hear some surprisingly great solos from the house band or other gigging jazz players.
Bonus: Las Vegas Jazz Festival
The Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival has been offering residents and visitors high-quality jazz, blues, and R&B for over 30 years.
During this event on the last weekend in April, you sit next to several hundred of your closest friends to enjoy fantastic new jazz performers.
A typical lineup may include innovative artists like Will Downing, Lalah Hathaway, and Mike Phillips, alongside old favorites, like the Average White Band. Each year brings in new artists and even better food!
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!