If there’s one thing we can certainly say about Europe, it’s that no two countries here are the same. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot in common, and one of those things is a love for music.
The jazz movement may have kicked off in the States, but you can see its influence across the entire continent of Europe. But where are the best jazz and blues clubs in this vast region? Here are just a few of them.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London
Let’s kick off our blues and jazz list with a city that has it all – London. The Great British capital city has countless blues and jazz clubs, and one of our favourites is Ronnie Scott’s. This venue has been at the heart of the city’s jazz scene since 1959. And it’s located in Soho, one of the London’s most energetic districts. Any known name in jazz has probably taken to the stage at Ronnie’s. Make sure you also check out this wonderful lunchtime jazz cruise experience on the Thames.
Hot Clube de Portugal, Lisbon
Lisbon is Europe’s most western capital (geographically) and a fantastic place to get your fill of top quality jazz, especially if you pay a visit to Hot Clube. Since 1948, when the club was constructed in a minimalist style, jazz stars such as Sarah Vaughan, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie have graced its stage. Depending on when you visit, you might be treated to the sounds of 89-year-old Lou Donaldson. Need a quick break from the loud atmosphere? There’s a secluded terrace that overlooks the courtyard.
Harris Piano Bar, Krakow
Jazz spread throughout the entirety of Europe during the 20th century, and Krakow is no exception. Our favourite jazz hangout spot is Harris Piano Bar, where you’ll hear a style of music that’s a fusion between traditional motifs and jazz melodies. This club’s maximum capacity is just 70, which makes for an intimate setting. To top it off, you can eat a delicious meal for as little as a few euros.
Donau 115, Berlin
The German capital is rife with live music venues, so it comes as no surprise that it’s home to some of Europe’s best jazz clubs. Located in the vibrant district of Neukölln, Donau 115 is a small club that attracts some of the biggest names on the circuit, including acts from across the pond. The building itself was mostly destroyed during the war, but the floor on which the club is located survived. If that’s not a testament to the power of jazz, we don’t know what is.
Porgy and Bess, Vienna
Vienna, which is undeniably one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals (particularly when it comes to art and architecture) is famous for being either the birthplace or home of names like Strauss and Mozart. But it’s also a European hub for jazz lovers. To hear the best of the capital’s jazz acts, head to Porgy and Bess, which is a large concert hall attracting some of Europe’s top talent.
Plenty of people regard Prague as the party capital of Europe thanks to its lively nightlife scene and affordable prices on booze. But its jazz scene is so impressive that it’s been experienced by an ex-President of the United States. At the Reduta Club, you might get the chance to see names such as Cecil Taylor, Ronnie Livestock and Wynton Marsalis. And trust us – it’s one of Europe’s best venues for sipping a delicious pilsner while listening to the romantic sounds of saxophones and orchestras.
Trying to decide where to head next in Europe to experience the best of jazz and blues music? Why not create your own customised itinerary using our online Adventure Planner!