Spend your summer nights listening to live music.
Spend your summer nights listening to live music.
Courtesy of The Nash

Hot Jazz Can Cool You Down This Summer

Phoenix New Times' 2018 Summer Guide, we're giving you plenty of ways to stay cool for the next several months in metro Phoenix, from jazz and cocktails to spa treatments and frozen delights.

Staying cool is paramount this season, and there’s nothing cooler than a little jazz music. Can’t get away from the heat? Try ignoring it, focusing instead on the polyrhythms, brass, and saxophones of something written by John Coltrane or sung by Blaise Lantana.

The Nash at 110 East Roosevelt Street is the Valley’s jazz titan. Established in April 2012, the popular Roosevelt Row nightclub features nightly programming from soloists, ensembles, and the occasional big band. Owned by the nonprofit Jazz in Arizona, The Nash’s profits are used to promote and preserve live music; its employees are volunteers who are there to promote the art of jazz.

Music fans looking for a smoke- and alcohol-free place to dig some sax riffs might try Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse at 4425 North Granite Reef Road in Scottsdale. This cozy cafe is an annex of the Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ and offers a weekly jazz showcase every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m in return for a $5 donation.

Also on Thursdays, Tempe’s La Bocca at 699 South Mill Avenue offers ambient jazz programming from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Downtown’s Lost Leaf, at 914 North Fifth Street, is a lot of things — an art gallery, a bar, and a music venue whose acts are sometimes jazzy, especially on Mondays. Music starts around 9 p.m., and regulars know that some proceeds from the sale of Lost Leaf’s craft beer and wine are paid to the performers there.

A Greek restaurant isn’t the most conventional place to find the American-bred genre of jazz, yet Opa Life Greek Café at 227 East Baseline Road in Tempe is a longtime staple in the local jazz scene. Grammy-nominated singer Judy Roberts often performs there, as does We3 Trio, another resident ensemble that combines jazz, pop, swing, and R&B in their repertoire. Opa Life’s jazz shows are free, and their programming is extensive, but Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 6 to 9 p.m. are sure bets for cool jazz.

Spinelli’s Pizza at 420 South Mill Avenue, #101, in Tempe, hosts Wednesday night jam sessions that often including rotating musicians from Arizona State University’s jazz programs. The music typically begins around 9 p.m. and wraps up, as Thelonious Monk once famously sang, “’round midnight, ’round midnight.”

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