10 of the Best Northern Jazz Venues

The north of England has its fair share of jazz festivals. Manchester, Scarborough, Burton Agnes & Gateshead are just some of the towns & cities which host national & international talent annually. These well attended festivals bring jazz in a variety of guises to music lovers young & old. 

Jazz fans do not have to wait until the summer for their fix of live music. The north is littered with music venues which programme live jazz regularly. Here are ten of the best northern jazz clubs. 

Seven Arts, Leeds - Seven Arts has seen many great jazz musicians pass through its doors over the last few years. This fashionable arts venue in Chapel Allerton has a relaxing bar to the front & an auditorium to the rear. Jazz concerts take place every Sunday afternoon from 1.30pm. Special events & workshops are held at various times throughout the year. Seamus Blake, Steve Swallow & Liane Carroll are just some of the illustrious names to have graced this venue which is the most recent winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards ‘Venue of The Year’. (www.sevenjazz.co.uk

The Phoenix Inn, York - Situated just within the city walls, The Phoenix Inn is an award winning real ale pub which lay derelict for many years. Brought back to life in 2009, this cosy pub has been hosting jazz ever since. The Phoenix Inn now has live jazz 4 nights a week with resident bands including the Chris Moore Trio & the Firebird Quartet. The popular Wednesday evening jam session is always packed full of musical talent and an appreciative audience. (www.phoenixinnyork.co.uk

Pave Bar, Hull - As the current UK City of Culture, a spotlight is shining on Hull’s art & music scene. Pave Bar, situated in the bustling area known to locals as ‘The Avenues’, has been hosting a popular jazz jam session for over a decade. The Tuesday night session sees a plethora of local talent join the house band led by pianist Rob Law. The local jazz legend ‘Blind Lemon’ never fails to win over the audience with his infectious take on the blues. Duo’s and trio’s entertain the diners on a Sunday afternoon with the music ranging from jazz to soul. (www.pavebar.co.uk

Wakefield Jazz, Wakefield - Tucked away from the town centre, Wakefield Jazz has its home at Wakefield Sports Club. Although the venue may be somewhat traditional, the music is certainly not. The club has consistently welcomed many of the UK’s most well respected jazz musicians across the scope of the genre. Running every Friday evening, you are always guaranteed world class musicianship. (www.wakefieldjazz.org

The Cask Inn, Scarborough - Not only is Scarborough the home of a long running annual jazz festival, it also has a weekly jazz session at The Cask Inn. Running for over 30 years, guest musicians join the house band to entertain a loyal audience. Full bands from across the north also visit the club on a Wednesday evening to play in this cosy basement bar. Scarborough jazz is perfect for a trip to the coast, first rate pub grub & high quality live jazz. (www.scarboroughjazz.co.uk

The Lescar, Sheffield - Run by one of the most welcoming jazz promoters in Yorkshire, The Lescar never fails to deliver a consistently varied programme of live jazz. On a Wednesday evening throughout the year, the pub pleases its regulars with cutting edge touring bands as well as more mainstream outfits. Based in the student area of the city, The Lescar is a real ale pub with a youthful atmosphere. (www.jazzatthelescar.com

The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle - Newcastle has a reputation for producing genre bending jazz musicians such as Chris Sharkey & ACV. The city’s live jazz programming has been boosted by the work of The Sage and promoters such as Jazz North East. The Jazz Cafe has a busy live jazz schedule which covers everything from free jazz to accessible vocal quartets. (www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk

Matt & Phreds, Manchester - Based in the fashionable Northern Quartet of the city, Matt & Phreds has built a reputation for hosting high quality jazz, latin & funk music throughout the week. The venue serves great pizza and has a fantastic party atmosphere over the weekend. Having played host to household names Adele & Jamie Cullum, it is no surprise that Matt & Phreds’ reputation for live music continues to grow. (www.mattandphreds.com

Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside - Not only a jazz venue but a cinema & restaurant, Zeffirelli’s is situated in the picturesque Cumbrian town of Ambleside. The town has a strong jazz pedigree due to the title of pianist John Taylor’s famous composition Ambleside Days. If you like to listen to jazz whilst enjoying some excellent food then Zeffirelli’s is the ideal venue. (www.zeffirellis.com

Cafe Lento, Leeds - No bigger than most peoples living rooms, Cafe Lento is situated in the Headingley area of Leeds. How does such a small venue consistently attract some of jazz music’s most well known names? Due to the buzzing atmosphere, generated largely by the charismatic owner Richard Lindley. A genuine music lover, you can’t fail to catch the bug of Richard’s enthusiasm for the music heard within the tiny walls of his venue. Cafe Lento delivers a truly intimate live music experience. (www.cafelento.co.uk

John Marley

1 comment

  • Mike Sheath

    Mike Sheath York

    Glad to see you are putting your talents to good use !! Seriously a well written and informative article. I am sure if your blog gets the exposure it deserves both Jazz enthusiasts and the Venues themselves will benefit from this. Well done John !

    Glad to see you are putting your talents to good use !! Seriously a well written and informative article. I am sure if your blog gets the exposure it deserves both Jazz enthusiasts and the Venues themselves will benefit from this. Well done John !

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