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Releases: Expanded View

Mar 19 2014

Philadelphia Jazz Makes History & Sweet Sounds

Jazz Clubs, Live Performances, Jam Sessions & Special Events Make Philly A Year-Round Destination For Jazz Music

As the birthplace or temporary home of such noted jazz figures as Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Bessie Smith, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, Philadelphia plays an important role in the history of the art form. But it’s not all about history. Concerts and events make the city a jazz hotspot even today. As acclaimed bassist Warren Oree said, “There’s another ‘Sound of Philadelphia’—the sound of Philadelphia’s jazz.” Here’s where people can hear it all year long:

Festivals & Events:

  • The third annual Center City Jazz Festival, which celebrates the past, present and future of jazz in Philadelphia, is a go. With a mission to introduce a new crop of Philadelphia’s best up-and-coming artists, the festival showcases a variety of jazz musicians—Tim Warfield Jr., Thumbscrew and Justin Faulkner lead this year’s lineup—at bars and lounges throughout the city. April 19.
  • Flowing jazz pairs with fine wines, fresh food and fragrant flowers at Longwood Gardens’ annual Wine & Jazz Festival. This year, the three-time Grammy® and Tony Award-winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet and the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia headline. June 7. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000,
  • In Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, the Morris Arboretum celebrates the longest day of the year with its Summer Solstice Salsa Party, starring Latin jazz group Café Con Pan Band. People who get there early can take advantage of free salsa lessons and learn the moves before the concert begins. June 19. 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777,
  • This year, the city welcomes back the Philadelphia United Jazz Festival and Celebration, which aims to show off the outstanding jazz music created, performed and exported from Philadelphia. Produced by the Lifeline Music Coalition, the event features two stages and various venues on South Street between Broad and 16th Streets. September 20.

A Series Of Jazz Series:

  • This season’s Friday Night Jazz events at Chestnut Hill’s Woodmere Art Museum features toe-tapping tributes to icons from John Coltrane to Jimi Hendrix and Nancy Wilson, among others. Guests sip on complimentary wine while enjoying the tunes. Fridays through April 25. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476,
  • The Morris Arboretum jazzes it up family-style with WXPN Kids’ Corner Concerts. The hour-long shows feature a different group every week. First three Thursdays in August.
    100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777,
  • Smooth Jazz Summer Nights celebrates another summer of bringing the cool sounds of smooth jazz to Philadelphia’s waterfront. Open to jazz fans of all ages, the free outdoor concerts happen on the RiverStage at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Dates to be announced. Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street, (215) 922-2FUN,

Jazz Clubs:

  • Down Beat Magazine got it right when they named Chris’ Jazz Cafe one of the “100 Great Venues Around the World to Hear Jazz.” In addition to surprisingly affordable tickets and some of the world’s greatest names in jazz, this spot also boasts cuisine that’s both budget-friendly and delicious. 1421 Sansom Street, (215) 568-3131,
  • Although it’s only open on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, LaRose Jazz Club in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood is considered one of the most authentic of the city’s clubs, thanks to its traditional jazz and blues offerings in a cabaret setting. 5531 Germantown Avenue, (215) 833-0939

Regular Performances:

  • Devoted to promoting jazz and experimental music, Ars Nova Workshop produces 25-50 live music performances each year. The nonprofit organization has built a reputation for delivering eclectic lineups and interesting collaborations at various venues around the city.
  • With live music most nights of the week, Melodies Cafe reserves Mondays for its jazz open-mic night. This increasingly popular jazz jam session at the Montgomery County/Main Line location (adjacent to the Ardmore train station) shows off fresh new talent honing their skills. 2 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 645-526,
  • Recently opened beneath the Chestnut Hill Hotel, Paris Bistro is a 50-seat jazz cafe offering performances Thursday through Sunday nights. Patrons can enjoy full food and drink lists while taking in hour-long performances from Philadelphia’s hottest jazz musicians. Sets begin at 7:00, 8:30 and 10:00 p.m. and an hour earlier on Sundays. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6200,
  • More of a performance space and educational center than a club or lounge, the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz aims to promote jazz—past, present and future—with workshops, classes, private lessons and, of course, concerts. 738 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-9912,
  • The Art After 5 events at the Philadelphia Museum of Art features live jazz concerts and a cash bar in the Great Stair Hall every Friday of the month. The performances focus on jazz, but also feature a smattering of international, soul and rhythm and blues starting at 5:00 p.m. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,
  • In Philadelphia’s Mount Airy neighborhood, Relish restaurant fuses traditional and modern southern cuisine with incredible live jazz performances Thursday through Sunday nights. The lounge even resembles a 1950s-style jazz lounge. 7152 Ogontz Avenue, (215) 276-6937,
  • Like a multiplex theater for drink and music lovers, Time houses three very different bars within the bar. Patrons can choose the whiskey bar, the absinthe lounge or the main dining room, where they can enjoy nightly jazz and soul, an open jazz jam on Sunday and jazz happy hours from Monday to Saturday. 1315 Sansom Street, (215) 985-4800,
  • In its waterfront location, Warmdaddy’s has a down-home vibe, a down-home Southern menu and a get-down lineup of national music acts every night. Most evenings feature soul and blues artists, with the occasional jazz virtuoso. While some nights require a cover charge, many do not. 1400 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 462-2000,
  • World Cafe Live’s Monday Night Jazz Jam, hosted by Marcel Bellinger, offers an incredible opportunity to jazz musicians from the Philadelphia region. Each week, the house band opens the evening with two songs, and then makes way for the new talent. 3025 Walnut Street, (215) 222-1400,

Visit Philadelphia, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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