Jazz club

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Jazz club originally referred to a club-like organization of jazz fans, mostly for the purpose of exchanging views, listening to records together and organizing concerts. Today it also refers more generally to places where more or less regular jazz concerts take place for a paying audience. This is partly also a cooperation between jazz lovers and an innkeeper.


Jazz clubs initially emerged from the union of jazz fans who gave each other lectures and record evenings about the rapidly developing jazz music and its latest tendencies . Some of them could be found out about the radio stations or when bands performed in dance cafés or variety shows . So so-called hot clubs were founded as early as the 1930s , some of which initially had an informal character. This was particularly important in Germany, as the swing youth was officially banned during National Socialism and sometimes punished with internment, but the corresponding clubs were still active (e.g. in Berlin , Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main ). In West Germany in particular, more hot clubs were founded after the war .

With the development of modern jazz , which at least tended to no longer see itself as dance music , the need for venues for touring musicians, amateur jazz musicians and concert program series increased in all countries. The clubs now also acted as venues for touring concerts and sessions. From the beginnings in the motherland of jazz, the USA, the spark soon jumped to Europe, first of all to the French capital, where many Americans took up temporary residence, and from there to Central Europe and Scandinavia.

For concerts with stars one sometimes avoided in cinemas: Arnett Cobb and Band in the Filmforum Duisburg 1987

In the 1950s in particular, jazz thrived underground. Jazz cellars were built based on the French model . In addition to cellars, the club members also designed catacombs, disused factories and barracks themselves. In medium-sized cities there were sometimes several jazz clubs next to each other, especially when the directions drifted too far apart - on the one hand Dixieland , on the other hand cool jazz . An important advantage of the clubs over regular bars was that no liquor license was required. With the help of day memberships , club guests could also take part in the concerts and clubs could be set up on a commercial basis. The German Jazz Federation , the umbrella organization of the jazz clubs in West Germany, promoted with its event department that the clubs increasingly became the venue for tours. Only a small number of the clubs, such as the Jazzkeller Frankfurt , sometimes also functioned as musicians' get-togethers, so that there were regular top-class jam sessions and, under certain circumstances, musical development. In Zurich , the no longer existing jazz café Africana had a corresponding function.

Current status

Due to the economic development it is hardly possible today that touring jazz musicians can play “for the door” (ie exclusively for the entrance fee), since hotel costs are incurred, families have to be looked after etc. Many jazz clubs therefore have the character of jazz bars according to the motto "Beer and Jazz" accepted; the gastronomic income then substantially co-finances the artistic business and in this way at least tends to determine it. A smaller part of the jazz clubs are concert clubs with high artistic standards, which are financially realized primarily through public funding and private sponsorship money. In these cases, income from gastronomy is more of an extra income.

Well-known venues

Well-known event venues with club character in Germany are Unterfahrt in Munich , the BIX Jazz Club in Stuttgart, the Stadtgarten in Cologne , the Jazz Club Hannover , the Jazz Club Minden , the Hot Jazz Club in Münster, the Jazzhaus in Freiburg im Breisgau , the domicil in Dortmund , the Quasimodo and A-Trane in Berlin, the Birdland in Neuburg an der Donau , the jazz club Villingen , the jazz studio in Nuremberg , the Blue Note in Fürth and the jazz club Neue Tonne in Dresden . In the southern German province, the club W71 in Weikersheim should be mentioned.

Jazz clubs are still in bloom in Switzerland today: in larger towns such as Basel , Bern , Geneva and Zurich , for example, there are Sometimes there are still several clubs, while even in places like Rheinfelden there are still real clubs and nationally attractive venues such as the Mühle Hunziken in Rubigen .

Jazzland has existed in Vienna since 1972 , where you can hear mainly classical jazz styles live six times a week, Porgy & Bess is primarily avant-garde and current trends and in Birdland, which closed in August 2008 after bankruptcy, they tried to do that Keeping legacy of Joe Zawinul alive. But also elsewhere in Austria, e.g. B. in Graz (the lively Royal Garden Jazzclub), in Dornbirn or in Lustenau , there are active clubs that still offer a demanding program.

The most important club in Prague is the Reduta , founded in 1958. Since a saxophone appearance by the then incumbent US President Bill Clinton , the club has also become known overseas. Clinton came to the club as a guest of Czech President Václav Havel . Havel gave him a saxophone, which Clinton immediately inaugurated with the Reduta All Stars .

See also


  • John Murray: Jazz, etc. Flambard Press, Hexham 2003, ISBN 1-87322-662-4 .
  • Barry Kernfeld (Ed.): The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. New York 1988, 2001. With own articles on jazz clubs
  • Vincent Pelote: Jazz Clubs. In: Bill Kirchner (Ed.): Oxford Companion to Jazz. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000.
  • Scott Yanow et al: All Music Guide Jazz. Miller Freeman Books. Chapter venues

Web links

Wiktionary: Jazzclub  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations