Despite what folks in other cities might think, NYC remains the best place in the world for jazz. So many of the city’s best jazz clubs feature top talent every night of the week, and there’s no shortage of the best music venues to explore. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date idea, or flying solo, these shows won’t disappoint.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to jazz in NYC
Best jazz shows this month in NYC
Few jazz pianists have had as wide an impact on American popular culture as Herbie Hancock. He scored hits with songs such as "Watermelon Man" and "Chameleon" in the ’70s, blew up MTV with "Rockit" in the ’80s, and provided fodder for hip-hop heads to bite into with "Cantaloupe Island" and "Maiden Voyage"—and that's not even taking into account his epochal playing with Miles Davis. His tour dates this summer include support from drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus, guitarist Lionel Loueke and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin.
Popular jazz singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli returns to Birdland to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. The 1967 collaboration between the iconic vocalist and Brazilian Bossa Nova composer included songs like "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Baubles, Bangles & Beads." Pizzarelli is joined on stage with Daniel Jobim, grandson of the late legend.
Free jazz along the waterfront couldn’t get any more enticing. This summer the Jazz Foundation of America will perform at Pier 84 while local artists will be performing on Pier 45. The lineup at Pier 84 includes George Braith, Art Baron and Gregory Lewis Organ Monk Trio. The Sunset on the Hudson lineup features the Chuck Braman Jazz Band, Max Gallico & Friends Acoustic Soul Duos and Shanti Star & the Afro-Reggae All-Stars. Catch live jazz along with a beautiful sunset along the Hudson.
Expect technically gifted, deeply funky jazz singer René Marie to give old Jazz standards fresh life through her dexterous interpretations and creates new classics through her original compositions. The charismatic vocalist is joined at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola by pianist John Chin, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Quentin Baxter, Jr.
Just try to stop your toes from tapping and your head from nodding when this celebrated jazz orchestra takes over Birdland for five nights. Originally formed in 1935 by William J. "Count" Basie, the "swingingest band in all the land" is still going strong decades after the legendary band leader's death. Picking up the unmistakable Kansas City swing tradition, is celebrated jazz trumpeter and current orchestra director Scotty Barnhart.
This veteran drummer's quartet with saxist Mark Turner, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street is one of the finest working bands on the current jazz landscape. The group’s elegantly shaded originals and ingeniously tweaked standards add up to a strikingly unpredictable take on postbop orthodoxy.
Once again, the city becomes a movable ode to Bird for a weekend in August. While this fest may be named for the legendary Charlie Parker, SummerStage’s jazz program isn’t stuck in the past. This year, the 25th anniversary features boundary-pushing talent presented over four days, including tap dance virtuoso and choreographer Jason Samuels Smith, saxophonist Joshua Redman's quartet and clarinet player Anat Cohen.