Best Places to Catch a Jazz Show in Detroit

June 12, 2018  |   Story by Shelby Tankersley  |   Photos by Marvin Shaouni and Detroit Jazz Festival

Warm Summer Nights Call For Smooth-Listening Jazz Shows

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.

Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts exterior

Photo courtesy of Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

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.

Motor City Wine selection in Corktown Detroit

Photo courtesy of Motor City Wine.

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).

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Baker's Keyboard Lounge
    20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit, MI 48221313-345-6300Highlight on map | More Details
  2. Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
    350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-887-8500Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Jazz Cafe at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
    350 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-887-8501Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Detroit Jazz Festival
    1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226Highlight on map | More Details
  5. New Center Park
    2998 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202313-420-6000Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Motor City Wine
    1949 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-483-7283Highlight on map | More Details