Where to listen to live jazz in Moscow

Emotional intensity, spontaneity of improvisation and African American roots of jazz did not immediately win the recognition of general public in the USSR. However, temporary difficulties helped jazz to develop in its own unique way in Russia and the number of jazz admirers is huge and ever growing. Here is a list of the best venues to enjoy jazz in Moscow.


The Igor Butman jazz club

The club rightly claims to be Moscow’s jazz epicenter. It has been repeatedly listed as one of the top jazz clubs in the world by Downbeat Magazine. Here you can listen to classic jazz, acoustic mainstream, jazz-rock, funk, soul, ethno-jazz, and blues. On Mondays, Igor Butman himself gives concerts together with the Moscow Jazz Orchestra. The club brought many outstanding musicians to the Moscow public – Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, the Dizzy Gillespie, All Star Big Band, Eric Marienthal, Christian Scott Quintet, Carmen Landi, Lionel Loueke, Tony MacAlpine, Virgil Donati, Peter Bernstein, Sean Jones – and the list goes on and on! Apart from concerts of renowned musicians, this place organizes special projects and festivals like Beatlemania, Crossover Festival and the Cinema Jazz Awards.

Address: 21 Ulitsa Verhnyaya Radishchevskaya
Hours: 11 AM – 12 AM

Union of Composers

It’s here that many now legendary Russian jazz and rock artists performed for the first time. The Union of Composers has also become the first Russian stage for many global stars. The best players in the business grace the spot, among them Konstantin Nikolsky, Andrey Makarevich, Vladimir Kuzmin, Viktor Zinchuk, Pyotr Podgorodetsky, Alexey Kozlov, Roswell Radd, Joshua Redman, Al Foster, Buster Williams, Scott Hamilton, Lenny White, Victor Bailey, Larry Willis Trio. If you’d like to find out what Russian classic rock sounds like, see live performances of rock bands like Arsenal, Bravo, Kvartal, Crematorium and Alexander Sklyar. This place hosts jazz festivals and throws intense jam-sessions when different performers improvise together. The restaurant treats guests with quality European food and takes pride in its wine list. Tip: the club is rather small so choose a table further from the stage for better sound.

Address: bld. 2, 8/10 Brusov Pereulok
Hours: 5 PM – 12 AM

Kozlov club

Legendary Russian saxophonist Alexei Kozlov has created a jewel of a jazz joint – the most forward-thinking music club, home to the vast majority of indie genres and musical trends. Kozlov is an evangelist of talent introducing the audience to unheralded performers of fusion, jazz-rock, avant-garde rock, new age, art rock, funk and crossover jazz. In 2017, the club was relaunched in Left Bank Pub and it now has two stages: the main stage (120 seats, capacity up to 200 people) where you can enjoy performances by the club residents and invited stars, and the attic (86 seats, capacity up to 100 people) where you can discover new talent. Own record label and vinyl store add to Kozlov club’s status of Moscow’s best live, intelligent and creative music venue.

Address: 9/2 Ulitsa Maroseika
Hours: Sun – Wen 11 AM – 12 AM, Thu – Sat 11 AM – 6 AM

Academ jazz club

Both local and world-renowned jazz, rock and blues musicians have performed here, including Eteri Beriashvili, Oleg Kireev, Andrey Davidyan, Andrei Makarevich, Sergey Manukyan, Konstantin Nikolsky, Vadim Eilenkrig, Sharon Clark, Wayne Escofferi, and Janine Carter. To mix up the program, Academ invites bands to play funk, blues, soul, rock-n-roll, flamenco and bossa nova on stage. Live performances usually start at 20:30. Reasonably priced menu leans towards the Russian cuisine with several international favorites like kebabs, steaks and Italian pasta. Good wines will complete the perfect night out in Academ jazz club.

Address: 1 Ulitsa Donskaya
Hours: 5 PM – 12 AM

Rhythm & Blues café

This club & restaurant opened in May 1998 when Moscow had little to offer in terms of quality live music entertainment. The place has a remarkable façade that you won’t forget – it’s a huge, bright fresco-collage mural featuring portraits of about forty world rock stars. Rolling Stones, Ringo Star, Brian May, Status Quo, Depeche Mode, Chick Korea, Jean Claude Ponty, and Rick Wakeman left their autographs on that wall. Inside you’ll find the tree of Russian rock music development mentioning all the significant Russian rock bands throughout history. The bar inside a pink limo was Quentin Tarantino’s idea. The club keeps rocking 70s style and hosts the crème de la crème of jazz talent. Night concerts start at 23:30 every Friday and Saturday – free entrance!

Address: bld. 2, 19 Starovagankovsky Pereulok
Hours: Sun – Thu 12 PM – 12 AM, Fri – Sat 12 PM – 5 AM

Mart art café

Mart art cafe occupies the lower level of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. This is a multi faceted bohemian space that brings together a café, a wine market, a jazz club, a greenhouse and an exhibition hall. Concerts, art exhibitions, documentary screenings, wine tastings, dance parties, and merry weddings perfectly coexist under one roof. They have a covered veranda that is open all winter, and from May to September a summer terrace is set up in the courtyard so you can start the evening cozying up in the café that offers a full menu of Georgian and European food. The live jazz concerts happen on Thursdays. Mart art cafe also traditionally hosts Opera Night, Hayk Grigorian’s musical project devoted to live music, singing and jam sessions.

Address: bld. 1, 25 Ulitsa Petrovka
Hours: Sun – Wen 11 AM – 12 AM, Thu – Sat 11 AM – 6 AM

Esse jazz club

Esse is a vibrant haunt particularly loved by jazz fans for great sound and variety of musical palette – classical and modern jazz, ethno-jazz, blues, soul, funk jazz, and bebop. The club draws in the public with a cultivated taste for groovy music featuring such musicians as Marjorie Barnes and Vahagn Hayrapetyan Trio, Ty Stephens and Oleg Butman Trio, Yakov Okun, Pyotr Vostokov, Mussorgsky Jazz Orchestra, Bril Brothers, the Caspar van Wijk — Peter Beets Quartet. At Esse, artists themselves are frequent guests too and the close-set tables allow the audience to rub elbows with some music legends.

Address: bld. 3a, 27 Ulitsa Pyatnitskaya
Hours: Sun – Thu 11 AM – 12 AM, Fri – Sat 11 AM – 3 AM

 

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