Despite not being on the scale of other hubs, the Valley has always had a solid jazz scene. Venues like The Nash, Char's Has the Blues, and The Rhythm Room have helped foster a scene that spans everything from ragtime and traditional to Latin and experimental jazz.
But those aren't the only places to spend a quiet evening enjoying some cocktails and great music. Here are six other venues helping perpetuate the Valley’s unique jazz offerings.
Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse4425 North Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale
Forget any connotations of a jazz club as some swinging hot spot. Sacred Grounds has a more wholesome approach. For one, it's connected to the Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ, so rather than selling whiskey and wine, you're more likely to find desserts and fine tea. But this is still a great spot for local jazz every single Thursday, with an emphasis on the greater jazz community. Plus, there's no beating a $5 donation for attendance.
The Lost Leaf914 North Fifth Street
The Lost Leaf has never been married to one musical genre in particular, so jazz remains a regular enough highlight of its events calendar, with a special emphasis on more experimental or left-of-center artists. What the venue lacks in consistency, it makes up for in serving as a special haven for both local, regional, and touring acts alike. That, plus its giant array of beers, means you're always bound for a good time.
Lakeshore Music at Tempe Center for the Arts700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
It's without its own venue, but Lakeshore Music has a rich history in the Valley. In 2007, the series warmed up at the famed Monti’s La Casa Vieja under the banner of Jam'n Jazz. In the years since, Lakeshore has become a powerhouse of a jazz concert series, running its 100th show back in April 2018. Each season runs September through May, hosting monthly shows of everything from hot club and Latin to traditional and ragtime jazz. And you can't beat the actual lakeside views.
Jazz & Jambalaya at Southern Rail300 West Camelback Road
There’s knowing your audience, and then there’s the biannual Jazz & Jambalaya series at Southern Rail. Taking advantage of perfect weather every spring (February through April) and fall (September through December), guests can enjoy ample cocktails and New Orleans-inspired comfort foods right on the patio. But the main course is always the music, with each weekly concert event featuring a different local/regional talent spanning the jazz spectrum. It’s not an everyday option, but then that’s what makes it all the more unique.
MIM Music Theater4725 East Mayo Boulevard
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As far as jazz-centric venues are concerned, the MIM Music Theater is distinctly one of a kind. Every month, the museum books a keen selection of jazz acts, with a steady mix of local performers and regular national and touring groups. But unlike other outlets in the Valley, fans can also take in the history of jazz, not to mention other essential musical genres and styles, with an educational jaunt around the exhibits. The power and heritage of jazz music really comes alive.
Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar7137 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
Until October 2018, Kazimierz World Wine Bar had been a steady spot to drink a shiraz and catch some local jazz. And while the new Kazimierz now favors whiskey just as much as wine, jazz remains a regular staple of this low-key spot. The monthly calendar features a slew of genre-spanning acts, but given that legends Dennis Rowland and Diana Lee performed during January's reopening party, jazz remains essential to the Kazimierz brand. Whatever you're sipping, this lil' speakeasy provides great tunes.