Happy International Jazz Day! Although we’re a long way from New Orleans, we have just as much soul. Testament to this are the mushrooming of festivals and venues dedicated to jazz in India.
But if you’re not quite sure where to go to listen to jazz, here’s our line-up of the 6 best venues in India that showcase internationally acclaimed jazz artists along with local legends and fresh talent.
1) Shisha Jazz Cafe, Pune
If you’ve never associated the word ‘shisha’ with ‘jazz’, it means you’ve been missing out. The Shisha Jazz Cafe in Pune was started by owners Prithvi Chitnis and Mehdi Niroomand because a) they were tired of the music usually played in restaurants b) they wanted to nurture an appreciation of jazz in India.
The cafe hosts jazz and blues nights featuring local and international acts and they’ve also hosted an annual jazz festival for aficionados and curious ears. So, if you’d ever like to smoke some shisha, eat Indo-Iranian food and listen to Ella Fitzgerald, you know where to go.
Click here to follow them on Facebook and stay updated on gigs.
2) Windmills Craftworks, Bangalore
While there are a handful of microbreweries in Bangalore, Windmills stands out for pairing their cold brews with cool jazz tunes.
Indeed, the Jazz Theatre at Windmills is a dedicated space for audiences to enjoy live performances with superlative sound quality. Windmills has hosted jazz, blues and soul global talent, such as Manuel Valera, The New Cuban Express, Beth Hart and Poke Lafarge to name but a few.
Click here to follow them on Facebook and keep your finger on the pulse of jazz in Bangalore.
3) The Piano Man Jazz Club, Delhi
The Piano Man Jazz Club’s owner, Arjun Sagar Gupta, is a musician himself and believes that jazz is a way of life.
The club’s schedule is always packed with the best of the best from the world of jazz, and acts as a gateway to jazz culture in India, across Europe, and around the world. It can get so packed that sometimes audience members sit on the floor next to the band or watch from the balcony. Either ways, the experience is warm, intimate and rich.
Plus, the club also holds screenings of concerts and films of jazz legends such as Bill Evans and Louis Armstrong.
4) Firefly Goan Bistro Bar, Goa
Nestled away in the little seaside village of Benaulim, Firefly, a family-owned bistro bar is the perfect place to enjoy some jazz and a view of the sea.
The cool breeze, great food and drinks, and a lineup that boasts lots of local talent makes Firefly an unique venue for jazz in Goa.
Click here for details on upcoming gigs.
5) Le Bistro Du Parc, Delhi
French food for the stomach and jazz for the ears – what more could one ask for, right? Le Bistro Du Parc started by Naina De Bois Juzan has become a go-to spot on Wednesdays and Thursday nights in Delhi for live jazz performances. Indeed, these nights are so popular, we recommend making reservations in advance.
Le Bistro Du Parc also hosts intriguingly named Bollyjazz nights, a weird but wonderful blend of melodies from 50’s and 60’s Indian cinema set to Jazz rhythms and harmonies.
6) The Quarter, Mumbai
If you like soul food with your jazz, The Quarter, in the Royal Opera House, is the place to be. The first of its kind in Mumbai, this place hosts performances at their art deco jazz bar – a space for gigs, tributes and live sets.
In an interview with CN traveller, founder-director Ashutosh Phatak speaking about the program for the Quarter, explained “We’re looking at jazz from a more holistic point of view where it’s an exploration of improvisation. “It can be electronic music, it can be pop, it can be hip hop—with the element of improvisation that gives you the feeling that you’re seeing something new. We’re tweaking the material of every artist that comes down and collaborating with them on what could be experienced for this space and this city.”
Here’s to evenings of great jazz.
Written by Samah Mariam
Featured image credit: The Piano Man Jazz Club