Jazz Clubs in New York

New York City is the "hub" of the Jazz World. All the greats made their names here, and young up-and-comers flock to the city for the chance to prove themselves.

55 Bar 55 Christopher St. (btwn. 7th Ave. So. & Waverly Place) 212-929-9883
Leni and Mike Stern hold court, also Sweet Georgia Brown, Billy Bang and Wayne Krantz. $5-15 cover and 2 drink min. Weeknight shows begin at 7pm and 10pm. Early show Friday and Saturday are at 6pm. Friday and Saturday late shows begin at 10pm (9:30pm on Sunday). Get there early because the club is small and Mike Stern et al packs them in. Expect a $15 cover on Mike Stern nights.

American Museum of Natural History
On 81st St. off Central Park West (Hayden Planetarium) (212) 769-5100
Fridays under The Sphere at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Others will know it as the Hadyn Planetarium. There are two sets weekly (5:45 / 7:15 PM) by highly regarded musicians such as Jimmy Heath, Lou Donaldson, Steve Turre, and David "Fathead" Newman and their quartets. The show admission is included with museum price (suggested donation), and drinks and tapas are available. This is the early Friday show to make, especially if you haven't been to the complex before -- it will surely impress even the most jaded.

Arthur's Tavern 57 Grove St. (N.W. corner of Grove and 7th Ave. South at Sheridan Square) 212-675-6879
Since 1937. Longest continually run jazz club in NYC. No cover charge. Jazz: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Dixieland jazz: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Blues and R&B from 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. Sunday and Monday. The Creole Cooking Jazz Band, Grove Street Stompers and Sweet Georgia Brown have been playing here weekly forever, and for good reason: they rock the house.

Birdland
315 West 44th Street (btwn. 8th and 9th) 212-581-3080
All show times: 9:00 and 11:00 P.M. (with early 5:30 tribute sets added to the Mon., Tues. and Fri. schedules). Music charge varies, $20-35. There is a $10 food/drink minimum per person at the tables. At the bar, the music charge includes one drink. Sundays belong to Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, Mondays have been reserved for the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin for the later sets, and now every Monday from 5:30 - 7:30pm - The Art Blakey Jazz Messenger's Revue perform. Tuesdays typically go to The Famous Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Paul Mercer Ellington with early sets at 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. showcasing David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band. From Wednesday - Saturday expect the best in local and internationally touring artists. Just added: Every Friday from 5:30 - 7:30pm - Lew Anderson's All American Big Band. All will enjoy the excellent sightlines to the stage.

Blue Note 131 W. 3rd St (btwn. 6th Ave. & MacDougal St.) (212) 475-8592
Opened in 1981, the Blue Note is arguably the world's most popular jazz club. World renown talent take the stage for six day runs, with Mondays usually reserved for excellent local talent. Two sets are 9:00 and 11:30. Prices are $35 for table reservations + minimum, or $25 cover at the bar. There is $5.00 cover charge for the Friday and Saturday late night jam sessions. Sunday brunch served Noon - 6 PM. Show times at 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM.

Blue Water Grill 31 Union Square West (Corner West 16th St.) (212) 675-9500
Fine restaurant with live jazz booked for downstairs dining area. Call for reservations. No cover, but meals are high end. Website does not mention who's playing, indicating that the jazz is an afterthought. That is, they don't book musicians who are in a position to complain if the audience noise level starts to peak. Call for performance calendar.

Cafe Creole 99 McDougal St. (btwn. W. 3rd & Bleecker) (212) 475-4132
A new addition to the McDougal Street music scene with Cajun and Caribbean cuisine and jazz served up Tuesday thru Sunday from 6:00-2:00 and Mondays from 9-2. No cover. No website, so call for schedule.

The Cajun 129 Eighth Ave. (btwn. 16th & 17th Streets) 212-691-6174
Dixieland and swing nightly 8 - 11 as backdrop to a New Orleans dining experience. Sunday brunches and Wednesday lunches are also accompanied by live music.

Cleopatra's Needle 2485 Broadway (btwn. 92nd & 93rd) 212-769-6969
Music from 9 pm - 4 am. No cover. $10. min. per set. Eclectic menu, big screen sports and weekly showcases, featuring Eric Lewis Trio on Mondays. And nightly open jams from 2 am - 4 am. Jazz vocalists open mic every Sunday 1 to 5 pm.

C-Note 157 Ave. C (btwn. 9th & 10th St.) (212) 677-8142
A first rate neighborhood club. Daily doses of early evening jazz trios 5pm-7pm, and open jams every Sunday from 3pm-6pm -(moving to Sat. at end of June). Daily schedule also includes all manner of music and you can keep up by asking to get on their email list. Usually no cover. If you are this far East it's worth a stop to see who they have, but call in advance and press "3" for schedule updates. Of note you can often find pianist Gil Coggins who's recorded with both Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins jamming at C-Note.

Decade 1117 First Avenue (at 61st Street) (212) 835-5979
Jazz with dinner weekdays for the Upper East Side. In this "dress appropriately" club/restaurant you can expect a well-heeled audience. Dinner menus are offered for a variety of budgets: prix-fixe meals weighing in at $45, $25, and $10 levels. Dinner hours are 6:00 - 9:00 after which the club reverts to a non-improv dance and night club vibe. Better check their detailed website for hour to hour programming. Closed Sundays.

Detour 349 E. 13th St. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-533-6212
Sun. - Thurs.: Music starts at 9:00. Fri. - Sat: Music starts at 9:30. No cover but informally enforced 2 drink minimum. Detour is the place to go in the East Village to catch Matt Wilson and John Funkhouser for free on their way up. They are among the talented new breed gigging at this inconspicuous diamond in the rough. Talk loudly or listen closely, all are welcome.

Fat Cat 75 Christopher Street (at 7th Ave. South) (212) 675-6056
This club is "around the corner pocket" from Smalls and features billiards and jazz. $10 admission for 6 hours of music from 10pm-4am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Fat Cat is the little brother of Smalls and features a similar posture and roster. It has reopened after wrinkles have been ironed out, check it out and tell us what you think.

Fez under Time Cafe 380 Lafayette St. (at Great Jones Street) 212-533-2680
Every Thursday Night: Mingus Big Band. Doors Open at 8:30 & 11 pm with sets at 9:30 & 11:30. Cover: $18. Late show is $10 for students with valid ID. Mingus Big Band features the bad boys of New York's big band players.

The Garage 99 7th Ave. So (Just South of W 4th St.) 212-645-0600
An open and spacious restaurant with a gregarious liquor bar / oyster bar. Aspiring jazz groups nightly, usually fronted by a vocalist. No cover. Plenty of outdoor seating in good weather. Sunday Jazz Brunch begins at noon.

Gishen Cafe 2150 5th Ave. (btwn. 131st & 132nd) (212) 283-7699
Jazz jams several nights a week with Friday and Saturday nights typically non jazz DJ party events. Call ahead for schedule updates.

Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street) (212) 423-3500
Fridays and Saturdays 5 - 8 PM. Worldbeat jazz program. After viewing the exhibits and collections, relax with a cocktail in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda and enjoy music that reflects both classic jazz and international musical influences. Museum tickets: Adults $12; Students and Seniors (with valid ID) $8; Children under 12 Free; Members Free.

Internet Cafe 82 E 3rd St. (btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.) 212-614-0747
Set times: Friday & Saturday night sets are at 10 & 11:30 pm; all other nights sets are at 9:30 & 11 pm. The cover remains $5, with no minimum. The most unpretentious and informal straight ahead jazz cafe perhaps in the world. Call ahead for summer schedule.