The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

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The Best Live Jazz Venues in Tokyo

Inside Jazzbird
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Throughout the past century, Jazz has developed into many unique variations, giving a beautiful platform for musicians to transcend the barriers of language in order to communicate the depths of human emotion. 

Personally, I have grown to love singing, playing, and listening to jazz over the years as it ignites passion and creativity inside me. Being a part of the vocal Jazz ensemble here at ASIJ, I’ve come to realize how creative jazz is in its sound, tempo, dynamics, and time signature. It’s undeniably one of the most complex genres of music. Jazz is a language that, once you learn fluently, can connect with so many different musicians around the world.

Listening to live jazz can be very therapeutic as it takes your mind into a musical realm where your day-to-day stressors are put aside to digest the sounds of the saxophone, bass, piano, or voice. 

In Tokyo, there are many opportunities to listen to jazz in a live setting that range in size, cost, and location. If you are interested in exploring the world of jazz or just want to listen to live music in an intimate setting, these are the venues I most recommend. 

Jazzbird

The first venue is a jazz bar and cafe in Minami Aoyama called Jazzbird. Jazzbird is a small, intimate venue that serves European-style food and drinks while listening to established standard jazz bands Monday through Saturday night from 19:30 pm to 22:30 pm. Jazzbird is definitely amongst the more affordable options to see live jazz in Tokyo, but it depends on the night you decide to go. Prices range from 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen for a table. This jazz club is my personal favorite–in fact, I have performed here—and the atmosphere is unmatched. 

The Cotton Club

The next recommendation is a jazz club that is much more luxurious, but is definitely worth spending a little extra money on for a night out listening to some of the best jazz ensembles in the world. The Cotton Club in Marunouchi, just around the corner from Tokyo Station, has hosted notable artists such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and, most recently, John Mayer. Prices for the music range from 6,000 to 7,000 yen. 

When I went to this jazz club I listened to the quartet vocal group säje. They brought the club to life with their angelic voices and their incredibly talented pianist and drummer. 

JZ Brat

The third jazz venue I highly recommend is a club called JZ Brat–Sound of Tokyo, located in Shibuya’s Cerulean Tower. This is a very well-lit, spacious venue with an incredible stage made for jazz. The prices at JZ Brat range from 4,000 to 5,000 yen for the table charge and it offers a wide range of food and drink options. 

I first visited this jazz club to watch a famous jazz pianist, George Nagata, perform and was blown away. Talent is all around Tokyo and this jazz club definitely finds a way to display that talent in a beautiful atmosphere. 

Sometime

The last recommendation of places in Tokyo to see live Jazz is a very affordable, small venue closer to ASIJ in Kichijoji called Sometime. This venue makes the audience feel like they are a part of the music and serves delicious food during the performance. Prices range from 2,000 to 4,000 yen, which is considerably cheap for listening to quality jazz. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Whether you are keen on the realm of jazz or music in general, find a night to explore some of these options and listen to high-quality music with like-minded people. Jazz is a language that brings us together and can do powerful things. You never know what will happen at a jazz club.

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About the Contributor
Ruby Gardner
Ruby Gardner, Writer
Hi! My name is Ruby and I am currently a Junior. This is my first year at ASIJ and in Tokyo and I love it so far. Prior to moving here, I have lived in Budapest, Dubai, and Seattle. I am passionate about music and singing, but I also love to write so I am particularly excited to shed light on the goings-on at ASIJ.

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