Best Jazz Clubs In Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a hub for entertainment and night-life and is known for great live music.  The city is home to many jazz and blues venues showcasing great music and unique atmosphere.  There are many upscale, piano bar type jazz clubs in Los Angeles, but we found some more relaxed venues which showcase varied types of jazz and attract mixed crowds.

By Macie Bennett

In the middle of the West San Fernando Valley is a hidden venue where jazz music thrives.  Casey’s Tavern in West Hills is what most may call your typical dive bar, and although considering the 1970s décor and old carpet, it is a great place to hear authentic jazz, Dixieland and swing.

Three nights a week, Casey’s features house bands, such as Evie and All That Jazz, a seasoned act who have been in residency at the venue for 20 years.  

Although some of the musicians are a bit on the older side, the crowd varies.  Depending on the time you arrive, Casey’s packs the house with anyone from college freshmen to WWII veterans.  

Throughout the bar, you can hear conversations about what is considered good Dixieland,  opinions on Cole Porter and thoughts from music students on different genres.

So, if you can look past the 1970s carpet, torn red leather chairs and not-so-great location, Casey’s is great place to hear some authentic jazz and grab a cheap, stiff drink.

But if you’re looking for something a little more modern, The Baked Potato in Studio City may be up your alley.  The Baked Potato is a small restaurant/bar venue that features an array of jazz and blues sub-genres.  Any given night, you can hear jazz, country-blues, avant-garde and fusion.

Fusion band, OHM, packed the house on Tuesday, March 3, at the Baked Potato.  At a $20 cover, the venue was left with standing room only. OHM was a great fusion band with lots of poly-rhythmic influences.  The trio played tight and cleanly and with very little error.  

The venue’s sound quality is above average and is not too loud, even in such a small space.  The patrons are friendly, bartenders are decent and the potato-themed menu isn’t bad either.  There is a two-drink minimum, but if you’re there to enjoy some unique, technical musicians, that can be overlooked.

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By Elizabeth Ohanian

Located in the heart of Little Tokyo is The Blue Whale, a more refined spot with a cool and hip vibe. There is a $10 minimum at the door, and with a fully equipped bar there’s no limit to what the bartender is able to mix up. The whiskey sour was made to perfection. 

The band of the night was Slumgum, a local Jazz quartet featuring Trevor Anderies on drums, Jon Armstrong on saxophone, Rory Cowal on piano and David Tranchina on bass.

Jen, a girl in her 20s wearing bunny ears over her beanie was by the entrance. She began to spark up conversation about how Slumgum plays at the Blue Whale on an almost weekly basis and how the pianist, Rory Cowal, is a longtime friend of hers. “Oh you’ve never been here? This place is awesome; it’s one of the best!” Jen said. 

The music was incredible and the crowd sat still with drinks in hand as they went into a state of hypnosis watching Slumgum play. The entire room was swept up by their talent.

As a newcomer to Jazz one would expect a room full of senior citizens and corny Jazz tunes, though it was the complete opposite at the Blue Whale. The atmosphere turned out to be a group of quirky, welcoming hipsters enjoying an immensely talented band. 

Jax Bar and Grill in Glendale, unfortunately, was more of a disappointment. At first glance, the style of the bar was very “Cheers”-esque, with vintage photos and knickknacks on the walls, fake plants everywhere and dark lighting. White Christmas lights cascaded along the walls. 

The Jazz was enjoyable and there was no minimum at the door. However, the wait service and vibe was very unwelcoming. It seemed that if you weren’t middle aged or older, you were not wanted there.

When ordering a Moscow Mule it’s expected that you will be handed a refreshing cocktail. Sadly at Jax that expectation was met with a bitter and foul tasting alternative. Nevertheless, if you’re solely looking to enjoy a live Jazz band then Jax Bar and Grill is worth a visit.

By Elizabeth Ohanian

Located in the heart of Little Tokyo is The Blue Whale, a more refined spot with a cool and hip vibe. There is a $10 minimum at the door, and with a fully equipped bar there’s no limit to what the bartender is able to mix up. The whiskey sour was made to perfection. 

The band of the night was Slumgum, a local Jazz quartet featuring Trevor Anderies on drums, Jon Armstrong on saxophone, Rory Cowal on piano and David Tranchina on bass.

Jen, a girl in her 20s wearing bunny ears over her beanie was by the entrance. She began to spark up conversation about how Slumgum plays at the Blue Whale on an almost weekly basis and how the pianist, Rory Cowal, is a longtime friend of hers. “Oh you’ve never been here? This place is awesome; it’s one of the best!” Jen said. 

The music was incredible and the crowd sat still with drinks in hand as they went into a state of hypnosis watching Slumgum play. The entire room was swept up by their talent.

As a newcomer to Jazz one would expect a room full of senior citizens and corny Jazz tunes, though it was the complete opposite at the Blue Whale. The atmosphere turned out to be a group of quirky, welcoming hipsters enjoying an immensely talented band. 

Jax Bar and Grill in Glendale, unfortunately, was more of a disappointment. At first glance, the style of the bar was very “Cheers”-esque, with vintage photos and knickknacks on the walls, fake plants everywhere and dark lighting. White Christmas lights cascaded along the walls. 

The Jazz was enjoyable and there was no minimum at the door. However, the wait service and vibe was very unwelcoming. It seemed that if you weren’t middle aged or older, you were not wanted there.

When ordering a Moscow Mule it’s expected that you will be handed a refreshing cocktail. Sadly at Jax that expectation was met with a bitter and foul tasting alternative. Nevertheless, if you’re solely looking to enjoy a live Jazz band then Jax Bar and Grill is worth a visit.