Carusel Tours
6 November 2021

Best Jazz Clubs of Moscow

Best Jazz Clubs of Moscow
My Personal Guide to Best Jazz Clubs of Moscow

Jazz and Moscow are among some of my greatest loves. So, I simply cannot miss the chance to write about best jazz clubs of Moscow for our blog readers!

As I have already mentioned in the post about jazz clubs of St. Petersburg, Russia is home to talented jazz musicians and it is particularly true when we speak about our capital. Why not listen to them playing live in a relaxing atmosphere when you visit the main cities of our country?

Esse
Piatnickaya 27/str 3A


Esse has been my favourite jazz place in Moscow for many years. No trip to the capital is complete without visiting Esse for me! Jazz lives here – Esse's slogan says and it is certainly true.

The club is located on always busy Piatnickaya Street in Zamoskvorechye, a step away from Novokuzneckaya/Tretyakovskaya Metro Stations. Zamoskvorechye is one of the most charming neighbourhoods of central Moscow, where predominantly merchants lived before the revolution and you can still feel the patriarchal spirit of that epoch walking down Zamoskvorechye streets.

You can come to Esse for dinner with live music or even brunch after your visit to the main building of the Tretyakov Gallery, located nearby, or walk there from Red Square/Bolotny Island/Kremlin area, such walk will probably take you not more than 15 minutes!

Esse's main hall with red brick walls is located on the second floor (or the first floor, depending on how you count floors in your country!) and right behind the arch around the bar area you will find another hall, where you can listen to all the concerts in the main hall at a slightly lower price (if the events are ticketed). On that stage, a lot of prominent Russian and foreign musicians perform regularly. Most evening performances are ticketed, you can book tickets through Esse's website or by phone.
Esse holds Sunday brunches in their main hall where starting from 3pm you can enjoy live jazz from best Moscow musicians without a need to buy a ticket! Sunday brunches are free.

Just be sure to book a table in advance – there a lot of jazz lovers in the capital. From time to time Esse also holds free evening jams and amazing silent cinema screenings accompanied by live music.
Esse Jazz Club Moscow
A couple of years ago Esse added the ground floor to its premises where now another stage is located with experimental jazz and even poetry from talented artists – jazz lab. These events are also ticketed and often fully booked!

Food/drinks: a variety of hot food and drinks are available in all halls of Esse

Doors open: Open every day from 11am as a restaurant, with live performances on the main stage at around 7pm/8pm/10pm or 3pm for Sunday brunches. Some artists play twice at 7pm and later at 10pm. Start time for jazz lab performances is 8 or 9 pm.

Entrance Policy: Some events are free of charge (often with minimum spend on food and drinks per person), most performances are ticketed, tickets can be bought on Esse website or booked in advance by phone/online and paid in cash before the performance.
Igor Butman Jazz Club on Taganka
Photo Butman Jazz Club in VK

Igor Butman Jazz Club on Taganka
Verkhnyaya Radishchevskaya, 21

Igor Butman is one of the most prominent Russian jazz saxophonists, he and his Moscow Jazz Orchestra are also well-known abroad. Butman started his jazz career in St. Petersburg (at that time Leningrad), later he moved to Moscow. Between 1987 and 2000-s Butman spent a lot of time in the USA, studying composing and piano in the Berklee College of Music, and later promoting Russian jazz musicians.

Igor Butman organizes several Russian jazz festivals and he stands behind Butman Jazz Club on Taganka, which is often listed among best jazz clubs of the world.

The club is located in the building of Theatre on Taganka (use side entrance from Verkhnyaya Radishchevskaya Street), it is also the steak restaurant with delicious food, with prices a bit higher than average for Moscow. The restaurant is called Steak's and you can use this sign as the reference point, when searching for the club's entrance. It is only a minute from Taganka Metro station.
Taganka is one of the districts of old Moscow, that retained much of its original charm and – churches. I recommend you to enjoy a walk there!
Some really nice Russian musicians and jazz stars from abroad perform at Butman Jazz Club every night, normally all the events are ticketed, the rates range from 800 RUB up to 5000 RUB, depending on the band. Igor Butman and his Moscow Jazz Orchestra are also regulars in the club.

In my opinion, the sound in the club, at least at the performances that I have visited, is really good.
On some Saturdays Butman Jazz Club has "late breakfasts" with free entrance and amazing artists playing for you on stage. Book in advance!
Food/drinks: full menu with hot food (not only steaks) and drinks

Doors open: Open every day from 11am as a restaurant, with day live performances on weekends and evening performances at 8.30pm. Some artists may play twice, for instance at 6pm and later at 9pm on weekends, or later on weekdays.

Entrance Policy – Most performances are ticketed; the tickets are sold on Butman Jazz Club website or at the club.
Alexey Kozlov Club
Photo JazzMap

Alexey Kozlov Club
Maroseyka 9/2

The club bears the name of the legendary Soviet and Russian Jazz saxophonist, Alexey Kozlov, who performs there with his band Arsenal, formed in 1973. Kozlov is one of the jazz pioneers of the Soviet Union and one of the first Soviet musicians who started playing saxophone in the 1950-s, a very unwelcomed musical instrument during the outbreak of the Cold War, when jazz was labelled too American and dangerous. Kozlov learned playing trophy German saxophone (with a swastika that was hard to erase), found at his university's orchestra storage room, by himself!

Alexey Kozlov is known for his innovative approach to jazz. Alexey Kozlov is also a composer and a writer – don't be surprise hear him citing his own verses at jazz performances, and play his own compositions from various periods of his life. Kozlov is the author of music for many films and theatre productions.

Alexey Kozlov Club is located in the very heart of the city, near Kitay Gorod metro station and just a stone throw from Moscow Kremlin.
Cozy Moscow streets and lanes in Pokrovka
Maroseyka Street still has a lot of typical yellow two storey buildings from the first part of the 19th century, and it gradually blends into Pokrovka Street (strictly speaking it is the same street called differently).
Quiet windy lanes and streets around it are really charming, they keep a lot of nice surprises for city explorers – like the unexpected exhibition of famous Moscow photographer for instance. And there are a lot of good eating options on Pokrovka-Maroseyka, so taking a walk there would be a good idea!

Kozlov Jazz Club Moscow Main Stage
Photo Kozlov Club Group in VK

Kozlov Club has three stages and it is located on three floors! The main one designed as the Irish pub (but really big one), with a large bar stand and dance floor, that is very much used during swing ball parties and other performances, because in this club you are going to hear music of very different styles – from jazz and fusion, to rock, soul, ethnic music and even gospel.

Two other stages are really cosy Mansarda (attic in Russian) and chamber-style the Beat – they often house more experimental performances. That said, the main stage may also be quite experimental, with some really surprising musicians - if you go there, be prepared for this.

Many evening gigs in Kozlov Club may be free of charge and overall, the ticket prices are lower, than in other jazz clubs of Moscow. And with 3 stages you can often come there without a preliminary reservation and find a spot!
In 2019 Kozlov Jazz Club headed AllAboutJazz ranking of top jazz venues in the world.
Food/drinks: full menu with hot food and drinks

Doors open: Open every day from 12am as a restaurant, with live evening performances at 8pm, midnight jazz and day performances on weekend.

Entrance Policy: Most performances are ticketed, there are midnight jams on Fridays that are free of charge and some other free performances during the week, the seats at the bar are the cheapest; the tickets are sold on Kozlov Club Website website or before the performance.
JAM club Moscow
JAM Club by Andrey Makarevich
Sretenka, 11

Andrey Makarevich is a musician - a founder of popular Soviet and Russian band "Mashina Vremeni" (time machine), that played rock music. He was also very well-known as the host of Smak, a popular cooking show on TV in the 1990-s. In JAM Club, he unites his passions to jazz improvisation and food.

JAM club holds live performances in two cosy halls, both are often sold out in advance. Apart from various versions of jazz, there you can hear blues and rock-n-roll. On Saturdays and Sundays, they often hold special jazz performances for families with children and jazz brunches.

JAM club is centrally located not far from Sukharevskaya and Sretensky Bulvar/Turgenevskaya metro stations, in the basement of local police office.
Andrey Makarevich has a very interesting project, Yiddish Jazz, inspired by traditional Eastern European Jewish music, many talented musicians from Moscow participate in it.
Food/drinks: full menu with hot food and drinks

Doors open: Open from 6pm on weekends and from 12pm on weekends, with live evening performances at 8 pm, midnight jazz and day performances on weekend

Entrance Policy: Performances are ticketed, evening performances start at 7pm in the small hall and 8pm or 9 pm in the big hall, weekend day performances at 1pm or 2pm; the tickets are available on JAM Club website.
My advice: avoid tributes to Frank Sinatra – there are certain artists in Moscow who perform mostly Sinatra songs in some jazz clubs and they just don't do it well.
Moscow Kittens on the roof of the building in Arbat Yards
Other Jazz Clubs in Moscow:

Academ Jazz Club
Arbat 38/1 Str. 1 Metro Smolenskaya, Entrance from Restaurant Venezia
Jazz, Rock, Blues… All performances are ticketed

Union of Composers (Soyuz Compozitorov in Russian)
Bryusov Pereulok 8/10 str. 2. Metro Pushkinskaya/Tverskaya/Chekhovskaya
Jazz, Rock, Blues, Flamenco… All performances are ticketed

Text Alexandra Lyukina
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