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Best Of Chicago

Best Chicago Jazz Clubs

September 22, 2010 12:32 PM

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Andy's Jazz Club

John Bany at Andy’s Jazz Club. Photo: Andy’s Jazz Club

The history of jazz in Chicago dates back more than a century, from “Jelly Roll” Morton’s innovative piano compositions to the avant-garde stylings of Sun Ra. And no matter where you are in the city, it’s not hard to find a place to hear the sounds of the most talented local jazz musicians. Here are five suggestions:

The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

4802 N. Broadway
(773) 878-5552
www.greenmilljazz.com

At one time, this Uptown club was a hangout for Al Capone. Today, the Green Mill hosts nightly concerts of everything from Dixieland to progressive jazz, and many jazz legends have appeared onstage. Among the highlights are Hammond B-3 organ performances by Chris Foreman several nights a week, and Monday night shows by the Patricia Barber Quartet.

Andy’s Jazz Club

11 E. Hubbard St.
(312) 642-6805
www.andysjazzclub.com

One of the city’s most popular jazz spots for more than 30 years, Andy’s draws nightly crowds for traditional jazz, swing and bebop. Locally and nationally renowned pianists, saxophonists and other jazz virtuosos make regular stops. And the old-fashioned big band sound can be heard Monday evenings with Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

The Velvet Lounge

67 E. Cermak Rd.
(312) 791-9050
www.velvetlounge.net

Jazz saxophonist Fred Anderson operates this Near South Side club, on Cermak between Chinatown and McCormick Place. You might hear Anderson’s own free-form stylings or those of other jazz musicians, and on Sunday nights, the jam sessions have provided exposure for many young and up-and-coming jazz prodigies.

Katerina’s

1920 W. Irving Park Rd.
(773) 348-7592
www.katerinas.com

Traditional jazz can be heard in this venue in the Northcenter neighborhood, but you’ll also find a variety of international sounds, from Brazilian bossa nova to ethnic Balkan or Greek performances. In the words of the Web site for Katerina’s , “It’s a bar, it’s a live music venue, a cultural center.”

The New Apartment Lounge

504 E. 75th St.
(773) 483-7728

Head down to the South Side’s Park Manor neighborhood every Tuesday night and catch a weekly concert by revered Chicago saxophonist Von Freeman and his quartet. The weekly event has drawn neighborhood regulars and jazz aficionados from all over the city for a decade.

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