Houston's Top 5 Jazz Clubs
5. RED CAT JAZZ CAFE
Admittedly, Red Cat has its hits and misses, but for a jazz neophyte looking to make his or her debut into the world of Fitzgerald and Armstrong, this "cafe" is a good place to start. Its relatively new Franklin Street address places Red Cat at the very beginning of downtown, and the seductively curled red cat sign directs scat enthusiasts right to its front door, meaning you can't miss it.
Once inside, you'll find that Red Cat is open to more than just jazz. Nearly all musical genres are put into the daily rotation, some of them derivatives of the improvisational music. There's Reggae Fuse Tuesdays, Rewind Wednesdays (with a live R&B band), Zydeco Thursdays and an upcoming Mardi Gras-themed celebration of the new year. It's like music appreciation class, only a lot more fun.
711 Franklin, 713-226-7870, www.redcatjazzcafe.com
4. FEDORA LOUNGE
You wouldn't be able to tell from its nondescript strip-mall exterior, but brave your way past it and into The Fedora Lounge on any given weeknight, and you'll be privy to the sexiest of scenes: s darkened room, perfect for sneaking a quick glance (or grasp) at the sexy after-worker next to you; a quiet ambience, only magnified during the times when the jazz gets you going; friendly and knowledgeable bartenders who can pour up drink specials; and framed pictures of jazz legends dotting the walls.
The jazz they play isn't the standard Olive Garden-style Sinatra, either. You'll hear 1940s-era jazz and R&B, stuff so rare that you'll find yourself caught in a "who-sings-that-song" round of questioning with the staff all night, which is perfect for jazz purists looking to enhance their iTunes collection.
2726 Bissonnet, 832-581-3232, Facebook page
3. CAFE 4212
Photo by Marco Torres
From quiet to loud: if you're looking for the complete opposite of The Fedora Lounge's dreamy atmosphere, you'll definitely find it here at Café 4212, where the jazz is loud and the place is almost always packed.
Loud, crowded jazz, you say? Why, yes we did, but it's okay! Café 4212 has the pleasure of hosting top jazz acts, including musicians from New Orleans.
4212 Almeda, 713-522-4212, www.cafe4212.com