Jazz is the beating heart of New Orleans, as important to the soul of this city as a rich pot of gumbo, a second-line parade and the charming architecture that defines neighborhoods such as the French Quarter and the Marigny. To experience the best jazz music in New Orleans, you have to immerse yourself in neighborhoods beyond the Bourbon Street scene. Here are some of the best places to go for jazz music in New Orleans.Preservation Hall and its resident band are New Orleans jazz institutions. Located in the French Quarter, Preservation Hall is a must-visit for anyone looking for an authentic New Orleans jazz experience.
Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta is another great spot for live jazz music. Some of the city's best jazz artists take the stage here, such as The James River Movement, The Alchemy, by Michael Watson, Luther Kent and Glen David Andrews. Every Friday night, around midnight, some of New Orleans' top burlesque artists also perform.The Blue Nile is one of the oldest clubs on Frenchman Street, this historic music district in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Its former incarnation, the Dream Palace, was actually the first bar on the block to feature live bands.
The place is known for presenting jazz, soul, funk and bluegrass music by some of the best musicians in the world. New Orleans legends such as Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty are known to frequent the Blue Nile.The Spotted Cat is another must-see on Frenchman Street. This old school favorite is perfect for those looking for an authentic New Orleans jazz club and has 2 or 3 bands every night, 7 nights a week. The owner of Spotted Cat also runs another French-language music club called Café Negril.The Maple Leaf Bar is a famous venue that has hosted a variety of acclaimed artists such as Rebirth Brass Band, James Booker, Papa Grows Funk and The Radiators.
Many of them have recorded live albums on site.Tipitina's isn't strictly a jazz club, but it presents an authentic representation of New Orleans music. This popular space for public meetings along Bourbon Street offers free jazz sets every day starting at 10 in the morning.Fritzl's European Jazz Club on Bourbon Street is a famous venue for both local and international jazz musicians and is the oldest operating jazz venue in all of New Orleans. The club's musical director, Kevin Ray Clark, performs Wednesday through Friday at the club.Bayou Bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel is another great spot to hear live jazz music in New Orleans. This Prohibition-era cocktail venue sets the stage with portraits of Al Capone and Lucky Luciano on the walls and old episodes of “Boardwalk Empire” that are sometimes played on your television.No matter which venue you choose to visit, you're sure to have an unforgettable experience listening to some of the best jazz music in New Orleans.