Jazz resonates. That is what has made the music and stories carried by that music relevant all through its history. The familiar echoes carried by music that has become a language, a language that has found a home in many cultures and hearts.
For the jet-setting Afropolitan who likes to visit new places and sample the best each city and small town they visit has to offer – from the food to the people and the cultural scene, here are the Jazz capitals of the world to visit.
Your jazz-fuelled wanderlust begins here.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is in many aspects one of the birth places of jazz. Home to artists and thinkers the city has been the hub of Black American culture and innovation for centuries. The legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong was an active member of the New Orleans Jazz scene.
Visit New Orleans on the last week of April, and stay to the first weekend of May to enjoy the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
From the time it was prohibited by the Nazis to its resurrection in the 1960s, Berlin has always loved its jazz. Today the jazz landscape is filled with outdoor events, jazz clubs and festivals. Most notable is the JazzFest Berlin, one of the oldest jazz festivals in the world!
When in Berlin visit A-Trane Jazz Club
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town carries, in its marrow, the struggles of people of colour in South Africa. It is the home of Cape Jazz, a genre that moves parallel to the New Orleans jazz developments. In Cape Town, the descendants of former Cape Malay slaves built the music and movements and Cape Jazz drew its influence from blues and indigenous Cape Malay folk music.
Now, Cape Town is home to one of the biggest music festivals on the African continent, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which is an annual must-see for jazz lovers. The city slows down as the 40-act, 5-stage festival and its jazz aficionados descend on it for two days. Held either in March or April, the festival is always worth a visit.
Paris is not only a city where, throughout civil rights movements, black artists have made homes — the writer James Baldwin, Nina Simone, etc. It’s also a city that has embraced jazz from the onset. In recognition of this, it was host city for the United Nation’s Jazz Day on 30, April 2015. Jazz Day is an initiative by the UN as they recognise the positive influence the music and related art forms has had on the world.
The Jazz Day festivities saw the French capital host workshops, master classes, jam sessions and panel discussions on the day. Many of the events were free and open to the public. Moreover, Paris is home to a number of Jazz festivals, events and venues.
The world of jazz awaits you.