Jazzhus Montmartre

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Jazzhus Montmartre was a jazz club in Copenhagen , Nørregade 41 (from 1959 to 1976 Store Regnegade 19). The legendary jazz club was one of the centers for modern jazz in Europe from the 1960s until it closed or moved in 1976. In 1995 the club was closed; In 2010 another club of the same name was created in Store Regnegade 19a.

The old club was also called Café Montmartre at times.


The restaurant at Store Regnegade 19 was opened by the architect Anders Dyrup on February 16, 1959, with a two-week stint by George Lewis . In the building there was a dance hall called Montmartre, which had been used occasionally for jazz events decades before, including those of the Club Montmartre by Dyrup and Adrian Bentzon and the events of the Blue Note (both for members only) since 1954 . Dyrup bought the house and turned it into a jazz club called Café Montmartre . In the newly opened club, which was open to all, initially mainly traditional jazz bands played; only a few exponents of modern jazz such as Jørgen Ryg with Erik Moseholm , Mose Allison or the Finn Savery Trio were booked. Shortly thereafter, Stan Getz played regularly in the club Monday through Thursday, as the first in a series of American exiles who had long engagements in Montmartre. The rhythm section was formed from August 1959 by Oscar Pettiford , the Swedish pianist Jan Johansson and then leading Danish drummer William Schiøpffe (1926–1981), who accompanied the Danish vibraphonist Louis Hjulmand as well as Getz, Benny Bailey and Don Byas . Even Helen Merrill occurred during the first year. In February 1960 the club was closed for renovation and only reopened under new management in late 1961. During this time, Pettiford died and Getz went back to the United States.

At the suggestion of the Copenhagen-based American jazz pianist Harold Goldberg , Herluf Kamp-Larsen bought the club in Dyrup's Regnegade store and both opened New Year's 1962 with tenor saxophonist Brew Moore . After a year, Goldberg left the partnership because of a dispute over the program, which Goldberg did not want to change. From March 1963 the club was called Jazzhus Montmartre . In addition to post-war modern jazz and the more traditional great soloists of the swing era, Kamp-Larsen also included contemporary New York musicians in their program. For US musicians, Kamp-Larsen also organized performances with the help of SAS sightseeing flight tickets, preferably at Ronnie Scotts in London, Gyllene Cirkeln in Stockholm and Blue Note in Paris. An attached small studio was used for radio broadcasts and recordings. Musicians like Dexter Gordon (who played here for the first time in October 1962 and with interruptions until 1976), Bud Powell (February – March 1962, no recordings were made, accompaniment Oersted-Pedersen), Don Byas , Roland Kirk (October 1963, December 1966), Coleman Hawkins (February 1968), Don Cherry , Albert Ayler , Ben Webster (first January 1965), Johnny Griffin (who appeared from 1964 and was the most frequently heard soloist in the club after Gordon), Sahib Shihab , Phil Woods , Lee Konitz , Bill Evans , Teddy Wilson , Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand, May 63, March – April 64, 1965, 1969, May – June 1972 solo and with Don Cherry), Rex Stewart , Art Farmer , Charles Tolliver , Freddie Hubbard and Stuff Smith (March 1965, June / July 1966, September 1967). Danish groups could play on Mondays; initially Max Brüel and John Tchicai took turns . The rhythm sections consisted of a house band with first pianist Bent Axen , then Tete Montoliu (from October 1963) and from 1964 Kenny Drew for seven years . From 1963 Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen was the bassist; William Schiöpffe (1962/63), Alex Riel (1963-1966), Al Heath (1967/68) and Makaya Ntshoko (1966 and 1969/70) worked as drummers . Around 1970 JC Moses was working here as a drummer in the rhythm section of the club. The economic basis of the club was good until 1970, but then it got into a crisis: On the one hand, well-rehearsed bands came more and more often instead of the soloists (or the soloists brought their own backing bands), so that the club had higher costs. In addition, there was a new tax system, the entry age raised to 18 years (from 1971) and more expensive flight tickets - moreover, interest in jazz had declined compared to the early years. As early as the summer of 1970 and 1971, some Danish bands played free of charge to support the club, and for the first time there was support from the Ministry of Education. But in 1974 Kamp-Larsen had to declare his bankruptcy. The Danish Jazz Musicians Association, which had been planning the program since 1971, had withdrawn. The club closed on September 7th after a final appearance by Dexter Gordon.

In February 1975 it was reopened for a short time after a renovation as Café Montmartre, with Dexter Gordon as the driving force and for example Jimmy Heath, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, Warne Marsh with Lee Konitz, Duke Jordan, Elvin Jones and Thad Jones / Mel Lewis big band. In November it was up for sale again and the last performance was in February 1976. Although there were interested parties, the owner decided to use it differently.

The new Jazzhus Montmartre came on September 15, 1976 under the direction of Kay Sørensen (1938–1988), known in Denmark as JazzKay , his successor in the Nörregade, on the site of the first Danish jazz nightclub of the 1920s, the Adlon . The musical manager was Niels Christensen, who also booked rock, pop and folk acts for commercial reasons and ran a very popular “night disco” after the performances. After the death of Sørensen (who received the Poul Henningsen Prize for his commitment, which he immediately passed on to Kamp-Larsen), the club was sold and the management, which had previously been with Thorborg and Christensen, changed. Various styles of music were tried out under the direction of clarinetist Ole Gohn and drummer Søren Houlind . Due to lack of success, the club closed in 1993 and was bought by the pop singer Anne Linnet and switched to new styles of music such as techno and hip-hop . However, it was not successful and despite financial support from the municipality, the club was finally closed in January 1995 and instead turned into a discotheque. The Copenhagen Jazz House (Niels Hemmingsens Gade 10), managed by Lars Thorborg, opened as a new venue for jazz in Copenhagen in October 1991 . In addition, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival has been held every July since 1979 .

In May 2010 the club was reopened at its old location (Store Regnegade 19A) by the journalist Rune Bech (in collaboration with Niels Lan Doky).


When many American jazz musicians settled in Europe and especially in Copenhagen from the late 1950s due to the more liberal climate, Montmartre became their main venue. These included Dexter Gordon (1962 to 1976 in Copenhagen), Ben Webster (who lived mainly in Copenhagen from 1964 until his death in 1973, interrupted from 1966 to 1969 in Amsterdam), Stan Getz (who lived with his Swedish wife in Copenhagen from 1958 to 1961 ), Bud Powell (who lived in Paris from 1959 to 1964) and Oscar Pettiford (who died shortly after moving to Copenhagen in 1960). House pianist Kenny Drew also lived as an “exile” in Denmark from the 1960s.


In 1962 the free jazz musicians Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray and Cecil Taylor met here for the first time . Taylor was in Montmartre for four weeks in November 1962, accompanied by Sunny Murray and alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons . There are no recordings of Taylor's encounter with Ayler.

At times they published a bi-weekly newsletter called Jazz & Rock .

Selection list of the musicians who performed there

In old Montmartre (until 1976):

From the Danish jazz scene:

At the Jazzhouse Montmartre in Nørregade:

Records recorded in Montmartre (selection)

  • Dollar Brand : African Piano
  • Dollar Brand: Ancient Africa
  • Don Byas : 30th Anniversary Album
  • Bill Evans : Jazzhouse
  • Bill Evans: You're Gonna Hear from Me
  • Maffy Falay & Sevda: Live at Jazzhus Montmartre
  • Dexter Gordon: Body and Soul
  • Dexter Gordon: Ladybird in Music
  • Dexter Gordon: Live at the Montmartre Jazzhus
  • Dexter Gordon: The Montmartre Collection vol. 1 & 2
  • Johnny Griffin : Live at Jazzhus Montmartre
  • Roland Kirk: Kirk in Copenhagen
  • Roland Kirk: Live in Copenhagen 1963
  • Oscar Pettiford: My Little Cello
  • Stuff Smith: Live at the Montmartre
  • Stuff Smith Quartet: Swingin 'Stuff
  • Clark Terry & Ernie Wilkins : Live at Montmartre Copenhagen 9 June 1975
  • Cecil Taylor : Innovations
  • Cecil Taylor: What's New
  • Ben Webster: Live at the Jazzhus Montmartre
  • Ben Webster: Saturday Night at the Montmartre
  • Ben Webster: Stormy Weather
  • Ben Webster: Sunday Morning at the Montmartre
  • Ben Webster: Midnight at the Monmartre 1965 (with Drew, Ørsted Pedersen, Riel)

Literature, films

  • Frank Büchmann-Møller, Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen: Montmartre Jazzhuset i St.Regnegade 19, Kobenhavn 1959–1976. Odense 2008 (illustrated book, with discography, list of concerts)
  • Erik Wiedemann: Montmartre 1959–76: Historien om et jazzhus i København. 1997 (as well as in Musik + Forskning Vol. 21, 1996, 274), Erik Wiedemann The Montmartre , pdf
  • Jens Jørn Gjedsted, Thorborg, Niels Christensen: Montmartre gennem 10 år (1976–1986). 1986, ISBN 87-980654-2-4 (for the tenth anniversary at the new location, by journalist Gjedsted with the then directors Thorborg and Christensen)
  • Between a Smile and a Tear , 2004 critical film by Niels Lan Doky

Web links


  1. Så meget som de glæder sig, kan de says genskabe den gamle nerve (Information, April 28, 2010)
  2. Erik Wiedemann The Montmartre 1959-1976 , see literature
  3. They included the Harold Land - Bobby Hutcherson Quintet, the Tony Williams Lifetime , Herbie Hancock Sextet, Weather Report , the Mahavishnu Orchestra , Return to Forever , the McCoy Tyner Quartet and the Charles Mingus Quintet.
  4. Other foreign jazz musicians living in Denmark were or are the baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab (1960 to 1986), the trumpeter Idrees Sulieman (from 1964), Duke Jordan (since 1978 in Copenhagen), Wild Bill Davison (1974–1979 in Copenhagen), the Tenor saxophonist Brew Moore, Stuff Smith (1965–1967), Ed Thigpen (from the 1970s), Walt Dickerson (from 1964), Michael Mantler , Horace Parlan and Thad Jones .