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A Guide to London’s Jazz Jams

29 August 2019 | Will Rathbone

There’s something about the spontaneity of jazz that’s just so appealing - a group of musicians letting loose and running wild. Who knows where they’ll end up? The important thing is it’s happening now. In-keeping with this spirit, you don’t want to always book a ticket to see jazz, so we’ve rounded up some of the finest jams in town. Just turn up and enjoy the jam.

Effra Tavern – Sunday, Brixton
Lauren Darlymple hosts this jam at the friendly Effra Tavern in Brixton. Comprised of some of the area’s finest musicians, the atmosphere is relaxed and the playing is accomplished. You know these musicians have been playing for years and, along with their army of regulars, they conjure an atmosphere with ease. If you’re still hungry for more at the midnight close, Bar 414 on Coldharbour Lane continues the jam till 3am.
 
Effra Tavern hosts a jam every Sunday except the last Sunday of the month in Brixton. Free entry.
 

Image © Mike Urban

Orleans Wine Bar – Tuesday, Finsbury Park
Triple Jam Sandwich, hosted by the Acoustic Nomads house band, is a reggae-tinged jam that brings in players from all over London. It’s a late one for a Tuesday, with the music continuing till 3am, but entry is free before 11pm (£5 after), the mood is lively and the music popping.  
 
Triple Jam Sandwich takes place at Orleans Wine Bar every Tuesday, 10pm-3am in Finsbury Park. Entry is free before 11pm, £5 after.
 
The Junction – Tuesday, Camberwell
A relative newcomer to the scene, The Junction’s Tuesday jam attracts some fine musicians and has a genuine feeling of “still undiscovered” about it. It’s a great venue for music all week, and the food is tasty and generous with the helpings. The kitchen opens till 10pm, so we recommend heading down straight after work and grabbing a comfy seat at the front near the action.
 
The Junction hosts a jam every Tuesday, 8pm-11pm in Camberwell. Free entry.
 

Image © Mike Urban

Mau Mau Bar – Wednesday and Sunday, Notting Hill
Mau Mau Bar brings the jam to West London – and with it comes an atmosphere as cool as a cucumber on clarinet. Sunday brings a reggae jam, with Wednesday’s having more of a more traditional bent. The bar is cash-only, and the sound system is one of the finest in town.  
 
Mau Mau Bar hosts a jam every Wednesday, 8pm-12am and Sunday, 8-11pm in Notting Hill. Free entry.
 
Upstairs at Ronnie’s – Wednesday, Soho
The big hitter of London jamming. The crowd is undeniably suit-ier than other jams, but that doesn’t affect the calibre of musician on show. Let’s face it – if you’re playing at Ronnie’s, you’re going to be good. It’s an iconic venue, the Gin Martini is second to none, the players know their stuff and boy, do they show it.

Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s hosts a jam every Wednesday, 9:30pm-3am in Soho. Entry is £6 after 8pm, £8 after 10pm. 


Image © Shell Daruwala 

Troy Bar – Wednesday and Friday, Shoreditch
This is the jam for those that know about jams. Troy Bar is a staple of every musician’s diet – from hip newcomers cutting their teeth to seasoned circuit-players cutting back and letting loose. The standard is high, and the crowd is buzzing - especially on a post-work Friday night. Optimism is in the air, and it sounds like a trumpet.
 
Troy Bar hosts the Hoxton Jam every Wednesday, 8:30pm-1am, and Jazz Grooves every Friday, 10pm-3am in Shoreditch. Free entry (before 10:30pm on Friday).
 
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