Buffalo has always been a city of music, a city that at one time was graced with a music scene as vibrant and important as Chicago or New York City. And when you think about the music that helped to build the culture of this city, you cannot ignore, should not ignore, the sweet sounds of Jazz music. Although, pop culture has moved on to music from artists such as Taylor Swift, Hozier, and Lil Wayne, there are some great places here in Buffalo and the surrounding area where one can enjoy a little Jazz music and the amazing talent it takes to perform it. As a student and lover of music, I must admit that Jazz has to be experienced in a live setting for one to truly appreciate and understand the beauty behind it. This list will help you find a great night out and get that experience in Western New York.
Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo
145 Broadway St / Business District / Downtown | 716-855-9383
From the founding of Local union 533 in 1917 to the housing of the club in 1934 at its current location in downtown Buffalo, the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo has not only broken racial barriers but over its many years has given musicians and lovers of music a place to call home. From the second you walk in you can sense the rich history that permeates the air, a history that is complimented by the spirits of some of the greatest musicians of all time. Who would some of those musicians be? Well, musicians like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald all graced the stage here. To this day, the love of music is going strong and “Jam Sessions” still take place on Sunday nights. If you are a musician, head on down for one of these nights to experience it for yourself. Furthermore, check out the CMC Museum and even get the kids music lessons! CMC doesn’t just provide a chance to see a Jazz show but provides an entire experience. Give them a call for more information or head to their website for contact information and Event listings.
439 Delaware Avenue / Allentown / Downtown | 716-842-0600
Merge may not have the history that the CMC has, but it sure has the spirit of Jazz music infused within its walls. Located not far from the heart of Allentown, Merge is a perfect place to enjoy great Organic food and great music. Like most people who hail from this fine city, I love great food. I love eating it and love cooking it. At Merge, the food is just as smooth as the Jazz but don’t just take my word on it, step out and experience it for yourself. When you do stop in, I recommend trying the shrimp risotto for an appetizer as well as the raw crepes, Coq au Vin and sweet potato gnocchi (Maybe not all of them at the same time. Unless you’re really hungry, your call.) To make reservations, call and check out the menu!
1504 Hertel Ave / Hertel / North Buffalo | 716-835-3975
Located on Hertel Ave. the Shadow Lounge is a go to for drinks, food and music. The place gives off a classic but modern feel and makes you feel at home and welcome. You can come early for the food and stay afterward for the music and after dinner drinks. What’s awesome on the menu? Well, how about Braised Pork Belly for an appetizer or maybe the Fried Green Tomato (Mozzarella layered over mixed greens dressed with jalapeño buttermilk dressing)? It’s hard to choose what entree is best, but you can’t go wrong with the Grilled Skirt Steak! Drink favorites include Shadow’s Sidecar, Playboy Martini or even a good ol’ fashion beer. To find out what night is best for you, check out their website for the online calendar and further contact information,.
The Anchor Bar & Restaurant
1047 Main St / Medical Campus / Downtown | 716-883-1134
Wings – Wings – Wings but that’s not all! The Bar and Restaurant made famous by creating a staple of American food, loved by football fans and bar goers everywhere, is also a great place to catch live Jazz music. On Fridays, head on down for some classic American Jazz and on Saturday spice it up with Latin Jazz. Don’t forget to grab a couple beers or pops (soda, for the non-Buffalonians) and try out the rest of their menu. You can download it at their Facebook.
The Roycroft Inn
40 S Grove St / East Aurora / Southtowns | 716-652-5552
The Roycroft Inn offers many things for many people, including fine dining, the perfect setting for a wedding, a classic and comfortable place to rest your head and Friday night Jazz starting at 7:30pm in the newly renovated Craftsman Lounge. When I was made aware that the Roycroft Inn hosted Jazz nights, I was ecstatic. The Inn is a historical treasure and much like the CMC, it brings that history to life. Step out to enjoy Friday nights in a warm and inviting atmosphere, that embraces the beautiful earth tones built into the fixtures and furniture all around you. In fact, the Craftsman Lounge has quite the entertainment menu. While enjoying the night, try the French Onion au Gratin and Smoked Salmon Quarters, tis heaven to thy taste buds. The wine list is nothing to joke about either (please put these in my wine cellar) and don’t forget the Roycroft Copper Ale, created by Buffalo’s own Flying Bison Brewing Company. Lastly, since you are heading to the Roycroft anyway, it is a must to check out the Fournier Murals in the new foyer. We hope to see you there!
The Lewiston Jazz Festival
895 Center St. Lewiston, NY / Niagara County | 716-754-9500
Even though the schedule for this year has yet to be made and the website updated, you may want step out to Lewiston this summer for the biggest Jazz Fest in our area. Keep an eye out for updates online or give ’em a call!
As always, we recommend double checking before heading out for a specific jazz event to make sure it’s still on! Things change based on the time of year, holidays, etc.
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