The List: 12 jazz-friendly venues in the Triad

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Jazz!

by Chris Nafekh

1. Tate Street Coffee (GSO)
Performing Thursday night is a rite of passage for UNCG jazz students. The café fills with people, many of whom search fruitlessly for a free seat. The baristas are normally open to light conversation but a steady flow of business keeps them hustling behind the counter. Thursday is by far the busiest night of the week.

2. Krankies Coffee (W-S)
Winston’s coffee roaster and soon to be restaurant also has quite the reputation for live musical events. Every Monday night, Camel City Jazz Orchestra takes over, illuminating the shop with bracing, toe-tapping swing.

3. Jackie’s Place (HP)
High Point’s lone jazz club offers more than tunes. Wings, a fully stocked bar and old-school R&B only scratch the surface of this venue’s description; Jackie’s Place also hosts occasional burlesque shows.

4. The O. Henry (GSO)
Greensboro’s high-class hotel lends a cultured atmosphere to the Triad’s bowtie-sporting, martini-drinking bourgeoisie. On Thursday nights and every second Saturday the sounds of American Songbook standards echo through the building’s maroon-carpeted halls.

5. Winston-Salem parks (W-S)
Camel City Jazz Orchestra wraps up its summer series Neighborhood Suites with a final concert on Aug. 30 in Winston Square Park. The band has also played at Bethabara, Washington, Miller and Rupert parks.

6. The Crown (GSO)
The third floor of the Carolina Theatre hosts traveling folk artists and dance parties among other soirees. Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra has already scheduled two upcoming shows here — Sept. 20 and Dec. 8. Last time they visited the Crown, their set featured compositions by Herbie Hancock. Sadly, Hancock’s jazz-fusion hits like “Rockit” didn’t make the setlist.

7. Stevens Center (W-S)
The Winston-Salem Symphony regularly performs here, though they’ve been known to bounce around venues. Their focus on classical might be misleading; earlier this summer Robert Moody conducted a number of George Gershwin’s compositions including his magnum opus, “Rhapsody in Blue.”

8. Cheesecakes By Alex (GSO)

Besides offering Greensboro some of the most scrumptious cakes and goodies, the recently expanded shop also welcomes live jazz. Free-flow soloists blow their horns on the bakery’s patio on First Friday and other special occasions.

9. Foothills Brewery (W-S)
The brewery maintains a tradition of Sunday night jazz. Home to Hoppyum, People’s Porter and seasonal selections like Sexual Chocolate stout, the longstanding Foothills thrives in a state where local breweries seem to sprout from the sidewalk.

10. Milner’s American Southern (W-S)
Winston’s West End restaurant features the Charlie Culbreath Trio every Sunday night. A few negative online reviews are worth noting; Milner’s jazz night conflicts directly with Foothills weekly show.

11. The Worx (GSO)
Musicians and hungry customers alike flock to the Railyard where, every Friday night, live jazz promises a good start to a night on the town.

12. Tate’s Craft Cocktails (W-S)
The bar in downtown Winston-Salem is well regarded for quality mixed drinks and capable barkeeps. Musicians occasionally entertain at the lounge while Winston patrons slowly fade away.

  • Steve Fowler

    Wanted to pass along that Milner’s is not in the West End but is located on Stratford Road between Thruway Center and Hanestowne Village.

  • Mary McInerney

    Pub 135 at the Radison on Main Street in High Point has jazz a couple of nights a week (plus drink specials, etc.) I realize it is not primarily a jazz venue, but it is a nice place to hear music. And the food is pretty good, too.

  • ogi

    Re O. Henry jazz: Never seen a bow tie in there, but you will see the finest novelty necktie collection in NC.

    • Brian Clarey

      You really should open a museum.