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Jazz © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr
Jazz © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

7 Best Places To See Live Jazz In Los Angeles

Picture of Renée Fabian
Renée Fabian
Updated: 15 November 2016
Jazz music still causes quite the stir, especially at the jazz festivals, shows, and clubs nestled throughout Los Angeles. The city attracts the biggest names in jazz from all over the country, and venues make for a raving good time. With this in mind, check out the seven best places for jazz music in the City of Angels.

Playboy Jazz Festival

It comes around only once a year in June, but the Los Angeles Playboy Jazz Festival attracts giants of the genre. Hosted in the open air at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, the two-day festival brings jazz musicians such as Janelle Monáe, Eddie Palmieri, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Seth MacFarlane front and center. Contemporary artists such as Snarky Puppy, Ledisi, and Aloe Blacc also find their way to each year’s performance roster, for a series of live concerts not to be forgotten.

Playboy Jazz Festival at Hollywood Bowl, 2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 850 2000

2015 Playboy Jazz Festival © Margaret Napier/Flickr

2015 Playboy Jazz Festival © Margaret Napier/Flickr

Catalina Jazz Club

Catalina Jazz Club’s slogan is ‘nothing but the best in jazz.’ To live up to their promise, this Hollywood-based jazz club has brought musicians such as Dizzie Gillespie, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Max Roach, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, and many more through its doors. Reservations are available, and their tasty menu includes dishes such as Cajun catfish, rack of lamb, and shrimp scampi pasta. As a bonus, Catalina also hosts private parties.

Catalina Jazz Club, 6725 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 466 2210

Catalina Jazz Club © Alexandre Lacerda/Flickr

Catalina Jazz Club © Alexandre Lacerda/Flickr

The Baked Potato

Since the 1970s, The Baked Potato has been serving up delicious spuds and delightful jazz music. Beyond one of the most extensive potato-based menus in Los Angeles, this little spot counts jazz musicians such as Dave Anderson, Cheryl Barnes, and Otmaro Ruis among its regular performers. Brush up on the club’s history before a visit with a documentary on the spot, where jazz legends such as Kenny G and Al Jarreau play a significant role. Located in Studio City and run by musician and composer Don Randi, The Baked Potato offers up a little slice of jazz history.

The Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA, USA, +1 

James Carrington live at The Baked Potato © Louise Palanker/Flickr

James Carrington live at The Baked Potato © Louise Palanker/Flickr

Bluewhale

Both a bar and art space, Little Tokyo’s Bluewhale is known for its live jazz scene. An appealing venue for the ultimate creative, Bluewhale came to be thanks to jazz vocalist Joon Lee. Visit either the bar area for a drink or check out the unconventional free-seating live performance area for an intimate encounter with music and art in the surrounding gallery. Recent acts at Bluewhale include the Cyrille Aimée Quintet, Chantae Cann, and John Patitucci, among others.

Bluewhale, Weller Court, 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St #301, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 620 0908

Jazz at LACMA

During the summer, Los Angeles County Museum of Art features live jazz music in the open air every Friday night. The Jazz at LACMA series begins in June and runs through September of each year, and has brought in some of the giants of jazz, including Wayne Shorter, Les McCann, Arturo Sandoval, and this season, Ernie Watts. Each concert is free and open to the public, so get there early to stake out your space. While LACMA requests no outside alcohol or glass bottles, snacks are welcome for this fun summer series.

Jazz at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 857 6000

Jazz at LACMA © Jessica Hayssen/Flickr

Jazz at LACMA © Jessica Hayssen/Flickr

Vibrato Grill Jazz

Upscale, from the location (Bel Air) to the menu, Vibrato Grill Jazz aims to bring the best in music and culinary art right to the table. Founded by musician Herb Alpert, the menu includes scrumptious choices such as Roquefort filet, pan-seared diver scallops, and BBQ short ribs, among others. Daily live jazz shows have included recent artists such as the Rob Lockhart Quartet, Nan Schwartz, and the Ron Stout Quartet. Vibrato welcomes reservations for this exclusive jazz experience.

Vibrato Grill Jazz, 2930 Beverly Glen Cir, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 474 9400

Pips on La Brea

Pips on La Brea has brought live jazz music and food to the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles since 2010. Opened by entertainment mogul Derrick Pipkin, Pips aims to impress with Master Chef Luis Carrizo Salvat’s culinary creations and the sounds of jazz. Regular nightly entertainers include Barbara Morrison, Darryl Woodfolk, and Gregory ‘Gee Mack’ Lawrence, among others. Of special note, Pips on La Brea makes a great brunch spot, where live jazz by Cal Bennett perfectly complements eggs, waffles, or crepes.

Pips on La Brea, 1356 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 954 7477