The Leeds jazz scene is always amazing with an ever-changing list of venues and bands. Jazz clubs pop up (and some unfortunately pop down again) so frequently it is hard to keep up. The best places are often out of town but there are encouraging signs of more jazz in the city centre too. So here’s (some) of what’s happening – why not visit them all! Twenty clubs to get you started on the Leeds jazz trail (in alphabetical order…)
Café Lento Headingley weekly jazz Fridays
Such a small place you need to get there early to get a seat but when you do the atmosphere is brilliant. The owner Richard Lindley is incredibly enthusiastic. Jazz, latin, funk, gypsy jazz, with mostly young bands from Leeds but also featuring visitors from as far away as Glasgow and London.
Cucina in Morley
Live Jazz every 2 weeks (alternates with Poker!). Ticket prices start at £7.50 plus 25% off your food bill on the night. Mainstream, singers, and more traditional jazz.
Domino Club Leeds City Centre Grand Arcade – jazz blues and soul every Tuesdays – Sundays.
An underground bar with live jazz, blues, funk and soul serving smart drinks. Entrance just behind Lord’s Barbering in The Grand Arcade Leeds then down the stairs into the nightclub. Young crowd, very hip. Thursday and Fridays very busy. Not just another themed jazz bar it has good live music too
East of Arcadia in Meanwood.
Jam session on Sunday evenings 8.30pm organised by guitarist Nick Svarc. East of Arcadia address is 607 Meanwood Road, LS6 4HQ
Head of Steam Leeds City Centre, Mill Hill.
Every Sunday evening popular saxman and sometime singer Brendan Duffy has a residency at the Head of Steam, near the main railway station with different singers and guest players. Friendly and a bit quirky. 7.30pm start
Howard Assembly Room City Centre Grand Theatre New Briggate
Lovely acoustic room in the building the houses the Leeds Grand Theatre. Big touring jazz names and visiting groups Curated by Jo Nockels from Opera North
Hyde Park Book Club Hyde Park Headingley Lane.
The former petrol station has been converted into a bar and Arts Centre with all sorts of dance and art/craft events. Tightlines book young bands from Leeds, Manchester or London – check website for details.
Jazz at Heart Headingley.
Based at Heart – a community arts centre housed in the formed Bennett Road school. Monthly jazz on Saturdays from 8pm with Leeds and UK contemporary jazz bands in the main concert room, jam session on first Friday of each month in the bar and regular Monday workshops on to learn how to play jazz. Curated by jazz trumpet player Lesley Jeffries. Some jazz now also happening on Tuesday evenings.
Jazz at the Spa, Boston Spa Leeds Saturdays –
One of the best traditional and mainstream jazz clubs in Yorkshire run by Les Brown and the team at Boston Spa Community Centre. Incredibly enthusiastic audience who bring their own food and drink, set the place up and clear up afterwards.
Inkwell and Seven Arts – Chapel Allerton Leeds
JazzLeeds promote evening gigs fortnightly on Thursdays at Seven Arts with international jazz names and Sunday afternoon gigs for regional bands alternating at Inkwell and Seven Arts. Also run an education programme with jazz workshops, a jazz choir, a Rush Hour jazz gigs monthly at Seven Arts, and Inkwell Divas singers gigs monthly at Inkwell on Saturday afternoons. Yjey run not one but two jazz festivals in Leeds – the Village Jazz festival in Chapel Allerton in September and the Jazz Leeds Festival in Leeds City Centre in July. Jazz Organiser Steve Crocker with an enthusiastic group of volunteers.
Leeds College of Music, City Centre St Peters Square Quarry Hill – a wide-ranging programme including concerts, workshops, FE, outreach and degree level
LS6 Jazz club, Hyde Park Headingley Lane. Wednesdays – young and very hip, good hangout for all the latest Leeds bands and visiting band who play 8-9pm followed by the biggest jam session in town till 11pm. Gets very busy during college term time. Run by saxman Jack Wilson.
Leeds Jazz Club Armley -Tuesdays. Leeds oldest continuing jazz club started in the 1960’s by John Wall, now organised by Malcolm Ford – a traditional jazz haven. Their current home is Armley Conservative Club Theaker Lane. More recently has attracted some of the younger swing dancers and jump jive bands
Nation of Shopkeepers 27 – 37 Cookridge Street Leeds. – Monthly jazz gigs free, usually Thursday evenings
Sela Bar New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU -historic jazz venue – used to be the legendary Studio 20 club – a place for organ jazz specialists (they have their own Hammond…) young bands and student groups.
Soft Pedal Cardigan Arms on Kirkstall Road every Sunday music starts 5pm – free. Food until late . Run by Tom Sharp
Undercurrent – White Swan City Centre LS1 63G next to the City Varieties in Leeds Centre. Monthly term-time concert curated by Jami Sheriff from leeds College of Music 8-11pm First Tuesday in the month Lots of great musicians coming to play – free entry.
Union Coffee House Mabgate 51 Great George St, Leeds LS1 3BB next to the LGI. Jazz for dancing – Friday nights
Wardrobe City Centre – St Peters Square Quarry Hill Jazz Soul and Funk promoted by Latin DJ Lubi Jovanovic and one of the venues for the Jazz Leeds Festival
Wharf Chambers- Sproggits City Centre –a music co operative in the city centre with improv/jazz on the 3rd Monday of every month
Village Jazz Festival (week following August Bank Holiday)- part of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival. Various venues incl Chapel Allerton Club, Inkwell, School of Philosophy, Seven Arts, The Woods. Finishes on Sunday afternoon for the Jazz Blues and Salsa Sunday on the Regent Street stage. Jazz Leeds presents
Jazz Leeds Festival Third weekend in July – Runs Thursday-Tuesday. Various venues including Carriageworks, Seven Arts, Leeds College of Music, Millennium Square, Wardrobe. Jazz Leeds presents