If you’re looking for some live jazz music in Leeds, these eleven venues are the very best you’ll find…
Jazz may feel like a thing of the past, conjuring up images of smoky clubs in the 20s, 30s and 40s, but it’s still very much alive and you’ll find plenty of places in Leeds where you can listen to it live. From international artists passing through the city on tour to talented locals you need to see play, find out where to catch those essential jazz clubs.
One of the stand out jazz clubs in Leeds, Chapel Allerton’s Seven Arts has even been nominated as venue of the year in the 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. With a programme run by Seven Jazz Leeds, it hosts weekly shows every Sunday afternoon featuring a range of local and northern jazz musicians. On Thursday evenings, the venue puts on evening concerts from national and international artists as well as ‘Seven Jazz Introduces’, which showcases emerging talent.
Seven Arts, 31a Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
The Leeds Jazz Club
The Leeds Jazz Club is incredibly straightforward – it takes place at 8pm every Tuesday at the Armley Conservative Club, offering a night of live music. They have different bands throughout the year, so it always stays fresh, covering genres like trad, dixieland, swing and smooth. It’s the perfect excuse to put your dancing shoes on for a night of jives and windy hops.
The Leeds Jazz Club, Armley Conservative Club, Theaker Lane, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 3NU.
Alongside blues, funk and soul, Sela Bar loves its jazz. In fact, they have a few nights dedicated to it. The Tuesday Big Band Jam takes place every week, with a big band rhythm section on stage alongside guest players from around Leeds – if you’re brave enough you can get up and join in. Their other jazz night, The Cooler, is more disparate, so keep an eye out for their listings. Whichever you choose, sit back and relax with Sela’s renowned beers, cocktails and pizzas.
Sela Bar, 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
The other Chapel Allerton venue used by Seven Jazz Leeds is The Inkwell arts centre. Smaller than Seven Arts, it’s still immensely popular. They host monthly Jazz on Saturdays with local jazz musicians playing classic standards in their main gallery space, as well as the weekly Sunday Jazz Cafe club, which features some of the best talents from all over the UK.
The Inkwell, 31 Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3LW.
Salvo’s love jazz – in fact, Gip Dammone is a renowned player himself, and they do their best to combine their famous Italian food with the best jazz tunes whenever they can. They regularly host Sunday Jazz Supper at the Leeds restaurant, though it’s not on a set date. It welcomes the likes of Rhythm Aire and Rev Cleve & Friends to take to the stage playing classic chilled jazz tunes, while you tuck into to some cracking grub.
Salvo’s, 111-115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.
Everyone knows about The Wardrobe’s downstairs gig and club venue, but did you know that their upstairs space in the main bar is often home to jazz? You can take advantage of their quality line up of beers and cocktails in the modern, airy venue while bopping along to a few jazz classics – it’s not on all the time, however, so keep an eye on their listings.
The Wardrobe, 6 St Peter’s Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH.
Leeds College of Music
One of the best regarded music institutions in the country, Leeds College of Music also has multiple performance spaces, which means they offer a huge breadth of live concerts. They have a jazz course on their books, so they regularly host shows by their students, while also managing to attract a number of national and international artists to the city to perform in their biggest space, The Venue.
Leeds College of Music, 3 Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PD.
This isn’t a regular event, but HEART open up their space to up and coming jazz artists, giving them a platform to show their work in front of an audience. Jazz at Heart takes places in The Shire Oak Room at the Headingley venue, and in the past they’ve welcomed the likes of Ingrid Jenson, Sam Watts, Dominic Marshall and Matt Anderson, so keep an eye out for future shows. They also hold regular jam sessions which you’re welcome to go along to, whether to join in or just watch.
HEART, Bennett Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HN.
The Head of Steam
Chances are you’ll be more familiar with the beer at The Head of Steam than the gigs, but live music is very much at the heart of what they do. Their weekly Gin and Jazz night takes on Sundays, led by Brendan Duffy’s Jazz Collective, and features a different guest vocalist very week. They play through some classic tunes, while you enjoy their Hendrick’s gin cocktails served in their own teapots.
The Head of Steam, 12 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
The Grove Inn
Head down to Holbeck on the second Monday of every month, as one of Leeds’ little known pubs puts on an event that’s a must for jazz fans. The Grove Inn is hidden away behind Bridgewater Place, and every month, local jazz group Abtuse Sextet, who started out at a Seven Jazz Leeds workshop, put on their very own jazz club, with special guests from around Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond visiting each time.
The Grove Inn, Back Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5PL.
One of the newest venues in Leeds, Cha Lounge has taken over what used to be Pin on Dock Street. On Friday nights, they often host Jazz and Global Small Plates events, featuring their resident jazz band, beer from Northern Monk and a menu of fusion tapas dishes inspired by cuisines from around the globe. Be warned, however, their nights aren’t every Friday, as sometimes they mix it up, so keep an eye out for what they’ve got coming up.
Cha Lounge, 24-26 Dock Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.
Seven Jazz images copyright Alden Chadwick.