Prague has enough to offer the average jazz fan. The historic center has a number of clubs, featuring international and local talent and through the spring and summer there are festivals bringing even more of the jazz world to the Czech Republic. Below is a guide to the venues and events.
IN THE CLUB
The venerable Reduta is still going strong, hosting international acts, legends of the Czech jazz scene, and the occasional US president. The regular program features a range of styles from traditional to Latin. From April 6th to 15th trad, swing and dixieland will take the stage.
One of the most popular clubs in Prague is AghaRTA, named after a Miles Davis album. They feature modern, latin and fusion bands. The pianist Emil Viklický will be playing there on 19th of April. The place gets full, so it’s worth going early.
Also located in the old town is U Staré Paní. The club has a modern, elegant feel, with both international and local acts.
Jazz & Blues Club Ungelt has been going a little over a decade. The manager, Robert, said the club focuses more on blues but has jazz on its program. He said, “We are trying to have special guest every month and to have something extra.” Blues guitarist Luboš Andršt is a regular and Poetic Filharmony are one of the special guests featured at the club.
A more intimate venue is u Malého Glena. Its owner, Glenn Spicker, has known the jazz scene for a while. Regarding the acts in his club Spicker said “Basically the guys can swing, they know the basics inside and out, and they can play on a high level. Though mostly it does tend to fall into the bop, bee-bop and post-bop schools, we have some decent blues nights as well.” The club is a chance to see Robert Balzar and Libor Šmoldas, plus every Monday is the blues night with Stan the Man’s Bohemian Blues Band.
Jazz Dock is a newer club and a chance to see some newer faces on the jazz scene. The acts in upcoming month range from modern to groups which defy easy categorization. The club’s modern design certainly sets it apart.
Prague Castle also hosts a concert once a month as part of Jazz na Hradě. Major jazz names from abroad as well as the Czech scene play here.
Milan Svoboda Sextet at Prague Castle playing “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”
Outside of Prague are a few jazz clubs. In Brno there is U Kouřícího Králíka which offers a mix of jazz and blues. Jazzová kavárna Podobrazy have occasional concerts, featuring jazz and jazz-infused acts. Klub Alterna hosts the Jazz On series of concerts. Olomouc has Jazz Tibet Club with both local and international acts. The emphasis seems to be more on modern and fusion. Jazz Club Teplice offers a more informal setting to enjoy a mix of jazz and blues along with other styles.
On top of the regular jazz at these venues, there are quite a number of festivals at which you can see international and local acts. Here are a few with confirmed dates and, in some cases, acts.
Jazzfest Brno 11th – 26th April Brno
The concert offers a chance to see both local and international jazz musicians. Among local acts are well-known names such as Jiří Stivín and Marta Töpferová, with newcomers such as Muff and Inner Space (which includes David Dorůžka). International names include the Radio String Quartet Vienna, Avishai Cohen, and jazz guitar legend Pat Methaney. Visit their website [http://www.jazzfestbrno.cz/jfb12en/] for more information or the page at Ticketstream.
The United Islands of Prague 21st – 23rd June have jazz acts as part of the festival line up. Check the festival website for more information.
Bohemia Jazz Fest 2012 10th – 22nd July, Around the Republic
Starting in Prague on 10th July, the festival travels to many of the Czech Republic’s major cities, such as Plzeň, Hradec Králové, Olomouc, Brno and České Budějovice. The festival’s coordinator and celebrated jazz guitarist Rudy Linka promises a festival full of the stars of jazz. Check the website for details.
South Bohemian JazzFest 17th – 18th August České Budějovice
Confirmed for the two main concerts are the Brazilian guitarist Joao Bosco (17.8.) and the violinist Jean Luc Ponty (18.8.) who has collaborated with the likes of Frank Zappa and Al Di Meola. Other performers will be announced closer to the festival’s start.
AghaRTA Jazz Festival
Apart from its regular series of shows, the jazz club AghaRTA has a festival running from March to June. The festival features at least one international act each month.
So really whatever style of jazz you prefer, the clubs and festivals have something to offer.
What are your tips?