Where to Listen to Jazz Music at WNY

Pausa Art House / Get Out Buffalo

It may have started as humble, working-class music, but somewhere along the way jazz became sophisticated – something you enjoy like fine wine or a painting by Monet.

Although live jazz is still a refined experience, a new generation of jazz musicians are taking a different approach, creating more upbeat and accessible music. Jazz is increasingly becoming something that can be enjoyed as part of a night out on the town, and we are so here for it.

Luckily for us, Buffalo has a proud and diverse jazz tradition that continues to thrive. You can’t rock a tenor saxophone in this town without meeting at least one great jazz musician. Below is a short list of great local jazz venues with many different vibes.

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These places are great places to start: they’ve been doing live jazz for a long time. They are steeped in tradition and are highly respected in the local jazz community and beyond.

1. Colored Musicians Club

145 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203

With icons such as Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald appearing over the years, the Colored Musicians Club is a must-visit even for non-jazz fans. If you want to feel jazz roots in western New York, that’s where you’re going.

2. Anchor bar

1047 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209

With people from all over the world arriving regularly, the Anchor Bar can be a bit of a tourist trap. What many locals might not know is that this chicken wing icon is actually a great jazz spot, with live performances in the back room on Fridays and Saturdays. evenings from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. It gets crowded and the atmosphere can get quite lively. Attend a Friday night set of The Jazz Example and you might start thinking of the Anchor Bar, a jazz club that serves chicken wings.

3. PAUSA Art House

19 Wadsworth Street, Buffalo, NY 14201

Although relatively new, PAUSA has quickly established a reputation as a hotspot for jazz. Of course, there are more prestigious locations listed below, but PAUSA reliably reserves more jazz than these other locations. It’s an intimate place where the vibe changes depending on who’s playing.

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4. Albright-Knox Art Gallery

1285 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222

For a more polished jazz experience, you can’t do much better than the Albright-Knox. The art gallery hosts a monthly jazz happy hour series on the first Friday of every month and regularly brings in world-class jazz artists as part of its Jazz Art Series.

5. Olivier’s Restaurant

2095 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

We’ve already told you about the amazing things going on in Oliver’s kitchen and the wine list is one of the best in WNY. Oliver’s is also the venue for local jazz icon George Jones, who plays a solo piano ensemble on Friday nights and with his trio on Saturday nights.

6. The Roycroft Inn

40 S Grove St, East Aurora, NY 14052

The Roycroft combines the history of a place like the Colored Musicians Club with the refined atmosphere of Oliver’s. His Jazz Craftsmen Series presents the biggest names in local jazz every Sunday evening and regularly hosts jazz bands on weekends.

7. Athletes’ Tavern

326 Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14207

Regularly booking artists national tours and occasionally winning a Grammy, the respect for Sportsmens Tavern extends far beyond Western New York. However, Sportsmens tends to focus more on bluegrass and Americana than jazz. It would be the perfect place for a more blue collar jazz experience.

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8. Hotel Henri

444 Forest Ave, Buffalo, NY 14213

Any excuse you have to go to Hotel Henry, you take it. The self-proclaimed urban oasis now includes a jazz concert series the second Wednesday of the month.

9. The Neighborhood

26 Virginia Pl, Buffalo, NY 14202

Dedicated to bringing New Orleans to Buffalo, you won’t get a less pretentious jazz vibe in Buffalo than at The Quarter. The bar-restaurant offers live jazz every Friday evening.

10. Delaware Park Terrace

199 Lincoln Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14222

It doesn’t get more idyllic than the Jazz Lava overlooking Lake Hoyt in Delaware Park. The terrace presents live “jazz and cocktails” evevery Friday and Saturday evening.

11. Buffalo Distilling Company

860 Seneca St, Buffalo, NY 14210

In addition to producing your favorite locally made krupnik, Buffalo Distilling Company is also a big supporter of local music, including jazz. The distillery bar offers live jazz the third Friday of each month.

Ada J. Kenney