The One and Only Jazz Club You Have to Visit in Lagos, Nigeria

© Biser Todorov / Flickr
Photo of Anne Adams
4 April 2018

Nigeria’s love affair with jazz music stems from post-World War II, with the return of notable pioneer expatriates from Europe, such as Bobby Benson, Tunde Amuwo, Bob Edwards, Soji Lijadu, and Willy Payne among others. Today the capital is home to the most singular of music spots – here’s everything you need to know.

Jazz mood | © Fabrice Plas / Flickr

Jazz in Nigeria

Fast forward to the present day music scene, and the people of Nigeria have embraced jazz music as a celebration of freedom and creativity. Nowhere is this more true than at Jazzhole – located on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, this spot is a haven for jazz lovers. Here visitors can browse through an abundant collection of books, CD and vinyls, while enjoying different genres of music from jazz to afrobeats. The venue hosts bijou rehearsals and live music for chill-out evenings with friends and family. Transit through the different timelines of jazz’s musical progression, discover core eclectic music genres, and enjoy the rustic ambience while warming up to an archive of African rooted music with old posters, art and information you wouldn’t find anywhere else!

The space allows for a few tables and chairs at the back corner, where you can enjoy a wide assortment of over 40 varieties of tea and some of the best coffee choices. The coffee crumble cake is a delicious specialty of the cafe, not forgetting the goodness of one of the best freshly-baked carrot cakes the city of Lagos has to offer. Jazzhole is credited as one of the foremost and well-stocked music shops and cultural centers within the country, and numbers one of the top spots to learn about musical evolution.

Founder of Jazzhole

Mr Kunle Tejuoso founded Jazzhole as an adjunct of Glendora Books, the legendary bookstore franchise founded by his mother over 25 years ago. He started Jazzhole at a time when a number of expatriates were resident in Lagos – he wanted to bridge the gap between the international music scene and Nigeria, by providing them with a place to enjoy international music in Lagos. An avid collector of music, art, limited editions and signed copies, Mr Tejuoso began his love for collecting when authentic and original music sources were becoming extinct.

Through his extensive and impressive music archives, the Jazzhole proprietor has become much more than a collector, but a historian of African culture, fighting to preserve music, history and general lifestyle for the future generation. Of his creation he has noted that “I basically curate the store the way I want it. From my book selections to the music on display, there’s always a reason why I do what I do. It’s not a shop where you will find just Sunny Ade and Fela. You can walk in and find music from Morocco and Mali.”

Jazzhole in popular culture

If you’re looking for inspiration as an artist or as a writer, or to carry out research on musical progression and sounds, Mr Tejuosho regularly opens his doors to satisfy enthusiasts, helping to preserve what has come to be known as the Nigerian sound. In addition, Jazzhole often hosts international as well as local acts, for listening sessions, art exhibitions and jazz evenings.

Award-winning novelist and feminist supporter, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made a mention of Jazzhole in her book Americanah as the first meeting place of the characters Ifemelu and Obinze when they returned to Nigeria. Ngozi also mentioned in an interview that Jazzhole is a place where she loves to visit time and again to buy books.