Best Places to Catch a Jazz Show in DetroitModified: July 08, 2022 | Story by Shelby Tankersley | Photos by Marvin Shaouni and Detroit Jazz Festival
Warm Summer Nights Call For Smooth-Listening Jazz Clubs
Years before Motown became Detroit’s own brand of music, jazz had cemented a place in the city. Today, jazz clubs, concerts and festivals remain a common thread in Detroit’s culture. This summer, check out some of these live jazz clubs and events that will show you what Detroit jazz is all about.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
Located on the Avenue of Fashion, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge can boast as the world’s longest operating jazz club. The interior of the lounge feels just how a jazz club should and is complete with Art Deco furnishing. Both local and national acts are featured at Baker’s on any given night, and comedy shows are no stranger to this place either. And as if the entertainment wasn’t enough, Baker’s is known for some fantastic soul food.
Jazz Café at Music Hall
With a dedication to the arts, Music Hall showcases many genres. Below the Music Hall sits the Jazz Café, which has been the stage for smooth, well-known performers throughout the years. The Café has regular live performances and is jam-packed with Motor City jazz history.
Detroit Jazz Festival
This outdoor festival entering its 39th year takes place over Labor Day weekend. Detroit Jazz Festival celebrates the history of jazz while also introducing listeners to the genre’s new big names. The outdoor atmosphere fills the city with genre’s trademark competing, conflicting and unexpected rhythms as the sun goes down. This year’s lineup includes Chick Corea, Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Christian Sands Trio.
New Center Park
Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, New Center Park in Midtown shows movies and hosts live acts throughout the summer. Though jazz is not the park’s only form of entertainment, it is known to make more than one appearance in the summer. Oh, and admission is always free. You can’t beat that.
Motor City Wine
On Sunday nights, this wine shop features its Jazz Vinyl Club: A rotating group of vinyl shops that bring in jazz records to play. Motor City Wine sells its wines at retail price and allows customers to enjoy their purchase right in the shop. With classic wine and the classic sounds of jazz on vinyl, Motor City Wine keeps the perfect atmosphere for listening.
Grand Circus Park
Within walking distance to some of Detroit’s biggest attractions such as Little Caesars Arena, the Detroit Opera House and Ford Field, Grand Circus Park is host to plenty of events throughout the summer. Street Eats + Sounds that takes place every Thursday evening throughout most of the summer. The old school sounds of jazz, classical and swing are abundant while food trucks are on hand for a bite to eat.
While You’re in Detroit
Nothing goes with music quite like good food. Check out this list of some must-try restaurants in Detroit. And be sure to check out our guides of things to do and places to go in Detroit.
Shelby Tankersley is a Flint-based journalist who is feeling jazzy (and also loves a good pun).
1Baker's Keyboard Lounge20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit, MI 48221313-345-6300
2Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-887-8500
3Aretha's Jazz Cafe at Music Hall350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-887-8501
4Detroit Jazz Festival1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226313-469-6564
5New Center Park2998 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202313-420-6000
6Motor City Wine1949 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-483-7283