Jazz up your life and bop into these improvised music venues
Craving a bit of jazz in your life? Here’s where you can see it live, most nights of the week.
1 Bird’s Basement The sister club to New York City’s famed Birdland is a gutsy 200-seater that follows the Birdland model of two dinner shows per evening. It shares international and local jazz talent with its dead-cool older sibling (Ravi Coltrane, John Scofield and teen star turned crooner Molly Ringwald have all graced the stage) but also shines a light on local musicians who’ve nailed the old-school aesthetic. Throw in some well priced Italian dining from Beer Wine & Calzone upstairs and you’re in for a ripper night. à 11 Singers Ln, Melbourne 3000. 1800 225 299. birdsbasement.com. 8pm; check website for show dates. 2 The Paris Cat Jazz Club Located down one of Melbourne’s many CBD laneways, the Paris Cat is cool and cosy. Featuring two band rooms with a lounge bar in the middle, the Paris Cat has played host to some seriously good international and local performers since its doors opened in 2006. Jazz greats cover the velvety walls, with an intimate atmosphere setting the tone for easy music listening. à 6 Goldie Pl, Melbourne 3000. 03 9642 4711. pariscat.com.au. Wed, Thu 7-11pm; Fri, Sat 7pm-midnight. 3 Uptown Jazz Café Walk up the unassuming stairs under the neon sign and you’ll find this chic little jazz bar that boasts live music four nights a week. These guys take their craft pretty seriously – you can tell by the giant shrine to Charlie Parker that’s on the wall. Uptown revere the ‘Melbourne sound’, a rougharound-the-edges improvisation style. Park yourself beside the window looking down on Brunswick Street. à 177 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065. 03 9416 4546. www.uptownjazzcafe.com. Wed-sat 7pm-midnight. 4 Dizzy’s Jazz Club Jazz doesn’t have to be grungy and underground, and Dizzy’s Jazz Club proves how to do it with a bit of old-school pizzazz. Dizzy’s hosts international and local acts, and prides itself on offering upcoming
jazz bands the chance to show their stuff. On Wednesdays, Dizzy’s trademark big band hits the stage, Fridays and Saturdays up-and-comers wander through with special events taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They’ve even got their own motto: “Dizzy’s: where life is jazz!” à 368 Bridge Rd, Richmond 3121. 0474 723 076. dizzys.com.au. Tue-thu 6-11pm; Fri, Sat 5.30pm-12.30am. 5 303 The colourful, shabby 303 is usually a hub of activity, so it’s no surprise you’ll find some of the city’s best live music here. They aren’t defined as a jazz club per se, but they offer jazz in bite-sized and accessible bouts, perfect for the casual jazz fan. Only a few doors down from the Northcote Social Club, 303 usually has bands playing free from noon until late. à 303 High St, Northcote 3070. 03 9482 4577. 303.net.au. Mon-sat 6pm-3am; Sun 3pm-1am. 6 Fitzroy Pinnacle The weirdest-shaped pub in Melbourne feels more like a cosy lounge room than a music venue. Here, you can catch live music several nights a week: jazz, funk, country or blues. The Pinn is no frills, no bull – just couchdwelling jazz fans hunkering down for a chilled-out sesh. Check their updating gig guide for crooners, beboppers and genre-straddling multi-instrumentalists. à 251 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North 3068. 03 9489 3044. www.fitzroypinnacle.com.au. Mon-thu 3pm-midnight; Fri 3pm-1am; Sat noon-1am; Sun noon-10pm. 7 The Rooks Return On Wednesday nights head over to this under-the-radar Brunswick Street gem that serves up cocktails, craft brews and a free jazz show to boot. Settle in beside their cosy indoor stage where jazz hepcats the Rookies do their thing. As the Rooks Return’s house jazz band, the Rookies have mastered a set list of ballads and uptempo bebop numbers which are often accented by special guest performers. à 201 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065. 03 9417 1401. therooksreturn.com.au. Wed 4pm-1am.
The Rooks Return Best jazz clubs cont’d