Jazz is a quintessentially American form of music, and some of the best jazz schools in the country are in Southern California, so it's no surprise that there are plenty of places to hear awesome jazz. There are literally hundreds of venues around Los Angeles where you can sometimes hear jazz, but the Los Angeles jazz clubs listed here are pretty much all jazz, all the time. For the most comprehensive listings of jazz performances scheduled around LA and OC, check out the regional and venue-specific calendars at www.lajazz.com.
The Catalina Bar & Grill is an upscale jazz dinner club in Hollywood featuring some of the best international jazz acts still performing. They have a dinner or drinks minimum in addition to the ticket price.
From big band to Latin to Dixieland, and a Sunday Jazz Jam, Steamers Café in Fullerton is where you'll find a lot of the best Southern California jazz talent as well as visiting dignitaries of the genre. There is sometimes a cover charge, but often not. Two item food or drink minimum.
Charlie O's is an intimate venue on the main drag in Van Nuys with jazz 6 nights a week. It makes up for having no cover charge with upscale food and drink prices.
Enjoy your jazz accompanied by a baked potato with various toppings and a 2 drink minimum at the unpretentious Baked Potato in Studio City. It's all about the music, not the décor.
Vitello's Jazz and Supper Club has multiple rooms featuring all types of jazz, Latin, blues, and fusion music as well as vocal showcases featuring opera and show tunes. Cover varies. Two drink minimum.
Spaghettini is an upscale restaurant and jazz club just off the 405 freeway in Seal Beach (just over the OC border). Music ranges from contemporary and smooth jazz to Latin, jazz/rock and various soloists. A per person reservation fee will get you guaranteed seating near the stage, or you can walk in and take your chances. No cover and no food or drink minimum, but it's a restaurant and bar, so you're expected to order something.
Hollywood Studios Bar & Grill, located at the Gower Gulch western themes strip mall at Sunset and Gower, hosts primarily jazz and blues, including singer showcases and open mic nights. Some acts have a cover charge. There is always a required dinner or 2-drink minimum purchase. Check out their Facebook Page.
Run by the same family that runs Brennan's in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen bring both the food and sounds of New Orleans to Downtown Disney. The New Orleans sound permeates the weekend calendar, but you may also find solo piano, duos or other jazz acts at the Jazz Kitchen during the week.
The Blue Whale Bar in Downtown LA is a modern, minimalistic venue that looks like an art gallery strewn with ottomans (I prefer chairs with backs myself). They're serious about their Friday and Saturday night jazz performances and Monday night jam sessions, but will sometimes host other musical genres. It's not a restaurant per se, but serves Korean-influenced bar food. There is a cover charge except for the Monday night jam.
The Sea Bird Jazz Lounge opened in the space that was formerly Cotton Club West, connected to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles in downtown Long Beach. There's no food service in the lounge, but they have a full bar. Usually no cover except for special events.
A project of the Pasadena Jazz Institute, the J. I. Lounge showcases a variety of jazz vocalists and instrumentalists in an intimate lounge with a full bar. There's also a pool and ping pong room. There is usually a cover charge.
Live jazz in the Culver Club at the Radisson Hotel in Culver City with a food and beverage minimum. Usually no cover.