Phoenix’s colourful mix of Latin and Native American cultures results in a distinctive musical history and sound, rich in texture and song. The city’s jazz scene may not be world-famous but there are still some fantastic live music venues and jazz clubs in Phoenix, from intimate bars to concert halls.
The audiences that flock to live music bars and concert theatres across the city reflect the city’s diversity. So, whether you’re looking for Latin, jazz, punk, or even Mariachi, there’s sure to be a live set just a stone’s throw away that’ll be perfectly up your alley.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the jazz scene present in the valley and the places you can visit to listen to and play jazz. We’re going to be your guide to the best jazz clubs in Phoenix.
The Nash Jazz Club
The Nash is Phoenix’s only live music venue that specialises in jazz and jazz alone. This intimate performance room, named after famed Phoenix jazz drummer Lewis Nash, presents regular nighttime performances.
With it’s dim lighting and nightly hazz offerings, it’s regarded by many as one of the best jazz clubs in Phoenix. On any given night you might hear traditional jazz, big bands, avante-garde or more modern styles of jazz
The 114-capacity venue is owned and operated by the not-for-profit organisation, Jazz in AZ which supports and promotes jazz music in the city. The consistently good turn-out at this new and exciting music venue shows their mission is working.
With it’s relaxed vibe and community-focused ehtos it’s a great place for musicians to meet like-minded players. Be sure to head down on Sunday nights for its weekly jam session.
The Nash also offers community activities and educational programs on a regular basis. You can also bring your own wine and beer which is an added bonus!
The Rhythm Room is a Phoenix-based roots, blues, and music venue with a capacity of 250 people. On a nearly nightly basis, it hosts both touring artists and local acts.
From Jimmy Rogers to Bo Diddley, R.L. Burnside, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, and Bobby Rush, blues has always been the venue’s cornerstone, and owner Bob Corritore is eager to rattle off the names of renowned blues acts who have played there over the years.
Chico Chism, the local blues great who famously drummed for Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Otis Rush, and other blues legends before moving to Phoenix in the 1980s, is one name that clearly means the world to Corritore and the club continues to walk on the legacy these artists have left.
Valley Bar is a chic bar found within a basement in downtown Phoenix.
Basements are unusual in the southwest, so escaping to the cool confines of a well-finished basement room really is a rare pleasure, especially during the hot summer months.
If you head to Monroe and Central Avenue and climb down the steps you’ll be welcomed by beautifully exposed woodwork, quirky art and a relaxed vibe that’s perfect for jazz.
and has a lot of original woodwork and a clean, hip vibe. The valley bar boasts a seating capacity of up to 480 people.
A game room with two Skeeball machines, classic arcade video games and board games, as well as a performance space where live jazz is often featured.
It’s a great spot for handcrafted cocktails, live music and game evenings with your pals.
Jazz And Jambalaya
Restaurant and bar Southern Rail is a popular spot in Phoenix, best known for Chef Justin Beckett’s rotating menu of modern Southern cooking with fresh fruit, heritage grains, and smoked meats and fish.
The bar also has a penchant for live jazz, hosting a biannual series of live music called Jazz & Jambalaya. Over the course of several weeks, the restaurant showcases a new local artist across a variety of jazz genres every Sunday night.
Seating up to 300 people, there is always a fantastic atmosphere. If you’re a fan of bourbon, wine, great food and jazz, be sure to check out the Jazz & Jambalaya series.
The Van Buren
With a massive seating capacity of 1800 people, The Van Buren is a 20,000-square-foot performance facility with 1,800 seats in downtown Phoenix.
The Van Buren, along with its sibling venue Crescent Ballroom, is assisting in the influx of a growing number of nationally touring performers to downtown Phoenix.
Featuring a large stage and mezzanine, the venue attracts many internationally renowned names. The programme is eclectic but isn’t short of jazz, including the likes of Thundercat and Jacob Collier.
Glistening chandeliers, exposed masonry, and an eye-catching design by Tucson-based artist and designer Gary Patch (who also produced the venue’s unique Sonoran Desert-themed paintings) cement the Van Buren as one of the city’s best venues.
Phoenix features several top-notch music venues for listening to jazz. Jazz purists should head to The Nash, while fans of the blues should make a beeline for the Rhythm Room or The Valley Bar, two long-standing Phoenix landmarks.
Looking for more great venues across the US? Kansas City is steeped in jazz history and the home to some incredible jazz clubs. And you don’t get any more iconic than New York’s live jazz scene so head over to our rundown of the best clubs in the Big Apple to discover the best spots
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Check out Westside Blues & Jazz at Bell Road and 59 Ave. in Glendale, AZ. Live music bar, Thurs-Sat, Sunday matinee.