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Where to listen to jazz in Moscow?

Darya Bielecka

While the question seems to be obvious, just open any entertainment site, check the list, point your finger at the first jazz club enlisted, check some cash in the pockets, call a girlfriend and go, there may be some good recommendations from The City Post for you to know.

The best Moscow jazz club is Essé at metro Novokuznetskaya, and they are holding this title for at least the last five years. When they started, nobody expected that the deal would be that much successful. God knows, what helps them. Superb location, just three minutes from the centrally-located metro station, or good management, or most likely both. Essé guys keep to moderate fees for entry, and even if some expensive jazz artists want more, they calmly turn them down to what the club public is accustomed to pay, between RUR500 and RUR1200. Their cuisine is none of something special, but at the same time not bad, quite standard for what you pay for it. Service is excellent, even when they put four concert during the day/night, and some concerts in the daytime on Sundays and late at night on Fridays are free. You may see the same pool of jazz musicians there periodically, but don’t grumble. Residents to the club are one of the best musicians in the city, and they may want to have a stable job with one and the same very club. It’s normal elsewhere, from Chicago to Syzran. The only bad thing about them is that they do not have a cloakroom with attendant who would guarantee you the safety of your outwear. There is a rack on the second floor where you can leave your coat or jacket together with many others, but…you know…don’t show off and dress modestly for the pleasure to listen to good jazz.

Jam Club by Andrey Makarevich is 15 minutes walking distance from Turgenevskaya metro station. It’s the newest jazz club in Moscow, but people running it, surely Andrey Makarevich is not monitoring daily club operations by himself, are not freshmen in club management. Cuisine there is to the large part Georgian with low and mid pricing. Service is quite good, not exaggerated and not rude. As with Essé, there is a circle of residents playing there, mostly jazz musicians who participate in Makarevich vast tours around Russian and America. Entry fees are between RUR500 and RUR800, rarely raising to RUR1500. Besides jazz, blues is also often on show at Jam Club. On Mondays, you may attend free jam sessions, sometimes not only with club residents, but also with Andrey Makarevich himself. They have two halls, and two concerts are run simultaneously, so bear in mind that should you pay for one of the concerts, it does not automatically mean you would be a long-awaited guest at the second. The second concert, if you want to see it as well, should be paid additionally.

Alexei Kozlov Club in Maroseika Street is not about traditional jazz, but more advanced directions in modern jazz: jazz-rock, rock progressive and alternative jazz. It is located in Irish pub The Left Bank, so 50 sorts of Irish beer are must there. Public are to 95% youngsters, badly dressed and smoking like crazy at the entrance. But if you feel pity about your student years, it is the best place for you.

Akademichesky Jazz Club in the vicinity of Oktyabrskaya metro station is run by the team of sax player Oleg Kireev. The are very experienced in jazz club management, this is not the first venue at where Oleg Kireev and his colleaguess are organizing jazz concerts. The place is good for those nostalgic about the Soviet times and Soviet interiors. However, all well-established Moscow jazz vocalists and musicians eagerly accept Kireev’s invitations.

Jazz Club Kino at Olimpiisky is formally bearing its name. After studying their posters carefully, you would hardly ever find there a stable flood of jazz performers. As a compliment to the club, there may be mentioned cozy interiors, nice atmosphere and decent public.

Igor Butman Club on Taganka, former LeClub, is not experiencing its best times. Before, when Igor Butman was focusing all his efforts on the club, it roared all across Moscow. Those times can be completely forgotten. Now Igor Butman is concentrating on festivals organizing, and as IBMG (Igor Butman Music Group) is a one man company, the things with him-named club are rather bad that good. Food is ridiculously expensive and dreadful. Good services is not discovered there. The only reason to spend around RUR8000 per the two, including restaurant bill and entry cover, is to listen to Igor Burman Orchestra, or to the projects of his close friend trumpeter Vadim Eilenkrig, who are both definitely can be acclaimed as the two most popular Russian jazz artists. Butman does not perform in any other Moscow jazz club, since he has got his own club. Quite logical. Eilenkrig with his band called Eilenkrig Crew does not gather public in any other Moscow jazz clubs. In the heads of his fans, there is a strong connection between those two names. A fact easily explained. Vadim Eilenkrig was a soloist to Igor Butman Orchestra for over 10 years, and is saying around every corner that Igor is his best friend.