• Image about Tokyo


If You Go …

There are plenty of options when it comes to hearing live jazz in Tokyo. To help narrow down the choices, we asked four local musicians, all of whom have lived and played in the Japanese capital for more than a decade, to share their favorite venues with us. Here are some of their suggestions:

B FLAT
It’s the home of the Tokyo Big Band, which is led by Jonathan Katz and made up mostly of expats. Nightly performances are given by Tokyo’s top musicians. Also, there are monthly free-music nights. www.bflat.biz

BLUE NOTE
The most famous jazz club in Japan, it features internationally known acts weekly. www.bluenote.co.jp

BODY AND SOUL
This intimate club is in the Aoyama area of Tokyo and offers nightly music from top Japanese jazz musicians. www.bodyandsoul.co.jp

COTTON CLUB
There’s a red carpet outside the Cotton Club -- and there’s not always jazz inside. But if a jazz band is playing, you can expect it to be top-notch. Good food and a great atmosphere are standard here. www.cottonclubjapan.co.jp

JAZZ SPOT J
It’s a friendly outlet for new foreign musicians living in Japan. www.jazzspot-j.com

PIT INN
Afternoon and evening performances are given daily. Afternoon sessions are by up-and-coming jazz musicians in Tokyo. Evening sessions are by top Japanese and expat musicians as well as by internationally known jazz stars. Also, there’s a nice jam session the first Friday afternoon of each month. www.pit-inn.com

SOMEDAY
It’s all about big band at this modest downstairs club -- so much so that if it’s a quiet night, there may be more musicians than fans. www.someday.net

SOMETIME
A rarity (sadly) on the Tokyo jazz-club scene, it sometimes attracts a younger crowd to its intimate, very cool brick-walled space. www.sometime.co.jp/sometime