Detroit has a long history of musical innovation and jazz is definitely part of that history. Detroit’s jazz scene helped to shape the city and the world of the genre. Today it’s no different. Jazz is alive and thriving throughout Detroit. The city is home to many great live jazz clubs and venues and plays host to the world’s largest free jazz event.
Detroit’s Favorite Jazz Clubs & Cafés
Aretha’s Jazz Cafe is located in the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. Once known as “Detroit’s best-kept secret”, it’s now a popular place to catch live jazz in The D.
The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe features upscale dining with live local and national jazz acts. Tuesday through Thursday there isn’t a cover charge to catch local artists. Friday and Saturday have special cover charges for both local and national talents.
3. Cliff Bell’s
One of the oldest jazz clubs in Detroit, Cliff Bell’s is a great place to enjoy live performances. Winner of several awards for “best jazz club in Detroit,” Cliff Bell’s is a favorite. Check out their website for upcoming performances and to make reservations.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge offers a more intimate jazz scene. With seating for just 99, Baker’s keeps visitors close to the performance. Local and major artists are featured throughout the year.
Bert’s Market Place offers a warehouse theatre, jazz room and Motown room. Bert’s has live entertainment every night of the week. Thursdays and Fridays are the nights for live jazz.
6. Jazz on The Streets of Old Detroit
The Black Historic Sites Committee and Detroit Historical Society puts together a quarterly jazz performance. Check the events page for more details about upcoming performances and where to buy tickets.
7. Macomb Community College Jazz Band
For those a bit more reserved, a live performance at the community college might hit the right note. Students and community professionals come together to put on special ticketed performances. They feature a range of music including 20s and 30s Jazz, swing, Latin and contemporary hits.
8. Special Events and Tours
Special Jazz events can be found in and around Detroit all year long. Events like the Uptown Jazz Summer Cruise Series or West Coast Jazz Jam require tickets. Jazz artists visit great live music venues like Sound Board, The Fillmore Detroit, The Fox Theatre and more. Check out each venue for a listing of upcoming events.
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Detroit is home to the largest free jazz festival in the world. It happens every year over Labor Day weekend. Jazz fans can plan on seeing hundreds of acts spread over four days. It takes place in downtown Detroit stretching from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius Park. In addition, to live performances on multiple stages, there are children’s activities, fireworks, late-night jam sessions and educational activities for both kids and adults.
Discover more of Detroit’s music scene.