If you like to get out to take in some jazz, chances are you prefer heading out to a jazz club over a theatre. That's the finding of a report published by Jazz Audiences Initiative, a massive study undertaken by a group of jazz organizations in the U.S.
One of the study's key findings is that jazz buyers strongly prefer informal settings. Perhaps that means a place where you can have a drink; maybe even something to eat. Jazz clubs are the perfect place for both, so here are the top five jazz joints in Canada.
1. Yardbird Suite, Edmonton.
The venerable Edmonton jazz club situated on Tommy Banks Way has been part of Edmonton for 55 years. It's completely run by volunteers and it has had some of the biggest jazz stars in the world perform there. Yardbird Suite (named after Charlie Parker) is considered the bedrock of jazz venues in Canada. It hosts consistently great music, and the nachos are apparently to die for (it's been a while since I've had them).
2. Cory Weeds' Cellar, Vancouver.
Cory Weeds is the hardest-working man in jazz. Not only does he own and operate the Cellar jazz club in Vancouver, but he also runs a record label (Cellar Records), plays in bands like the Nightcrawlers and is a full-time, bona fide impresario of jazz. Great club. Great music. Solid menu.
3. The Rex, Toronto.
The Rex is a hopping jazz joint that has shows running several times a day. If you're looking for a place for some jazz and an afternoon beer, chances are you'll find both at The Rex. Anyone who is anyone plays at The Rex. They pass the hat for the artists, so be prepared to dig deep. My standard tip is $20.
4. Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill, Montreal.
The place for jazz in Montreal, 365 days a year. This is where real jazz happens outside of the Montreal Jazz Festival, and you'll hear Tonic artists like Ranee Lee, Julie Lamontagne and Sheila Jordan.
5. Hermann's Jazz Club, Victoria.
Hermann's has been around for a very long time, though it has been located in its current digs for the past 26 years. Hermann's supports local and international touring musicians, and you can take your kids, too.
What's your favourite place to hear live jazz? Let us know in the comments below.
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