The jazz and blues scene in Los Angeles continues to grow as the years go by, and now there are a number of places to slide into a seat and take advantage of live music. There are old favorites and newcomers, but each one offers its own vibe and crowd, as well as food and cocktails, to make your visit memorable.
The Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast
The Jazz Bakery’s name stems from its original location at the Helms Bakery in Culver City. Once the building’s owner turned the property into a furniture store, the Jazz Bakery became a “moveable feast”, setting up shows across the city. Jazz vocalist Ruth Price is the legendary founder and owner of The Jazz Bakery, and every month she introduces new performers at a new location. One interesting point to note is the Bakery’s non-profit status. Patrons and music lovers can show their support through a one-time or reoccurring donation.
If you enjoy penthouse restaurants and a spectacular view of the city, make your way to WEST at Hotel Angeleno. The hotel towers above the heavily traveled 405 freeway, but from your seat in the restaurant, you won’t even notice all of the cars. Jazz nights vary throughout the week, but some things remain the same–free entry, happy hour every day between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm and a beautiful evening atmosphere. The lounge opens every day at 4 p.m., and dinner service begins at 6 p.m.
The Vibrato is a high-class, sophisticated establishment in Beverly Crest. Many say there are no bad seats in the house at this ritzy little supper club. There are performances scheduled for almost every night of the week, insuring a rotation of varied, talented musicians. Dinner reservations are encouraged. The Vibrato is closed every Monday. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. throughout the rest of the week.
Hollywood sports its own legendary jazz club, and it is a location with a history of celebrity musicians since the doors opened. The club’s tagline is “Nothing but the best in jazz”, and that is what they promise for every performance at the intimate venue. There is a small cover charge and food and drink minimum in addition to the cost of an event ticket.
Pizza, pasta and salads are the main offerings at PIPS, but there is also a large selection of jazz to choose from on a weekly basis. In addition to scheduled performances, the restaurant and wine bar features three standard nights: Thursday evenings offer blues, Fridays provide Latin jazz, and every Sunday is jazz brunch. One important aspect to note is the restaurant’s closed door status every Monday. Otherwise, you will find nothing but good food and good music at PIPS once 5 p.m. hits.
Tucked into Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, Nola’s offers a “taste of New Orleans” in the form of Creole and Cajun cuisine, as well as rocking jazz and blues performances. The tunes and food are so soulful, you may think you’re Louisiana. Most performances are free, allowing you to enjoy a bit of music as you eat. Sunday’s brunch jazz is a standard $30 per person.
Although the downstairs restaurant has been revamped in the last few months, Vitello’s has made no changes yet to its upstairs jazz supper club. Tickets for various shows range from $15 to $25 with performances almost every night of the week. For anyone who loves his share of live jazz, spring for the Jazz Pass. For less than $90, enjoy free entry to any show Sunday through Thursday for a full year. Reservations are required to use the Jazz Pass, and food and drink minimums do apply.