Jazz is a conversation between musicians, an exchange of ideas and emotions through music and can make for some incredibly interesting listening, leaving no two sets alike. While Madrid, Spain, may not be the first place to pop into mind at the mention of jazz, it stands to reason that the style is alive and well here, too. Very much so, in fact, and you might just find that movie-perfect venue you’ve always dreamed existed.
Most of Spain opens late, and dinner is often not eaten until well past 10 p.m. with nightlife jamming on until 5 a.m. on the weekends. Clamores, originally a Classic Jazz venue, is now stage to one of the largest jumbles of musical styles in Madrid. Some of the live concerts start as early as 9 p.m. and many sounds are encompassed, like folk, world music, jazz, and pop. Even Flamenco has a spotlight here. This is a great place to keep coming back and hearing new sounds.
Café Jazz Populart, at Calle de las Huertas 22, is a classic jazz lover’s fantasy come true. In the heart of Huertas, a raucous barrio many claim as the capital of the area’s nightlife, sits Populart, a purist café that summons some of the best jazz players in the world to take the stage and speak to one another through their music. Populart manages to keep a professional sound while maintaining the casual anticipation of an improvisational jam session.
For a venue that allows more than just easy appreciation, try El Junco, at Plaza de Santa Bárbara 10, which offers live music every night and an homage to blues on Sundays and Thursdays. Also on those days are scheduled jam sessions, where some of the best jazz players in the area arrive to exchange improvised statements. After the live music, stay for dancing, as you’ll surely want to get your dance on to the master mixings of some of the most prominent DJs in Madrid. DJ mixes include nu jazz, funk and cutting-edge groove beats.
Feel like dressing up and hitting the town? Slide into Sol y Sombra, a happening club that does not allow t-shirt and jeans. Looks should match the music, which means smooth and classy. The décor is stunning and the atmosphere, electric. Music is varied but always the best the genre has to offer; dance or just seat-groove to the satiny sounds of live jazz, soul, R&B, and even culturally significant Flamenco. Entry fee required.
Café Berlin opened in the 1950s and retains the same façade and interior décor, allowing the jazz lover to experience a historical visit to this jazz joint frozen in time. One of the most popular jazz venues in all of Madrid, it is puritan and strictly for those who enjoy bebop jazz vocals- no fusion jazz here. Harkening back to the days of jazz’s blossom into the limelight, this is not to be missed for the traditionalist or even just the casual time traveler.