Jazz in Nice

Home of the Nice Jazz Festival, Nice is a town that knows how to swing, from the most established jazz club to the tiniest hole-in-the-wall…

Nice Jazz Clubs 

Shapko - Gianni SaccoLe Shapko, just off Place Rossetti in Old Nice, has live jazz/blues/funk every night of the week. Originally opened by Russian sax-man Dimitri Shapko, Michel Palagonia has been at the helm for almost a decade,  showcasing a rotating roster of local stars, and nurturing emerging talent.   And with no cover charge, Shapko is really the hub for musicians in Nice.  The bands start playing at 10:30pm, and by the end of the night local musicians are streaming in the door for the late-night jam sessions that have make Shapko a magnet for the local music scene.  5 rue Rossetti, Tram stop Cathédrale.

Chez Manu at Cave Romagnan is an acquired taste: a hole-in-the-wall bar near the train station with a grizzled clientele by day… that turns into an eclectic jazz club from 7-10pm on Saturday nights, (and now doing Blues from 7-10pm on Thursdays). The bar’s long time owner, Manu, loves jazz and doesn’t hesitate to book bands in that take up half his tiny floor space, but the fiercely loyal regulars don’t mind, they just crowd in and spill out to the sidewalk.  To say the decor is unpretentious is an understatement, but the drinks are cheap, the music amazing, and the locals colorful… so who cares?  No cover charge.  22 rue d’Angleterre, tram stop Gare Thiers or Jean Médecin.  Join their Facebook group to get the most up-to-date schedule.

Le Ketje is a fun little hole-in-the-wall type hangout deep behind the Port with a local clientele, cheap drinks and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.   Blues, Jazz, Folk, World, Ska… check their Facebook page to see what’s coming up.  No cover charge. 15 rue Auguste Gal, Tram stop Acropolis.

Galerie Depardieu  A hip New York loft-style art gallery by day, but by night, a couple of times a month, they turn into Nice’s coolest pop-up jazz club (check their website for the schedule) .  12-15€ cover charge for non-members, but join the club and then it’s just 8-10€.  6 rue du Docteur Jacques Guidoni, behind Galeries Lafayette, tram stop Opera or Massena.

Born out of the Nice Jazz Festival, Nice Music Live brings in top jazz musicians for shows at various concert halls around town, including the open-air Theatre de Verdure across from the seaside (tram stop Massena), the Black Box just across from tram stop Point Michel, StockFish at the Vauban tram stop, and others.  Check out their monthly roster of concerts, which range from legends to up-and-comers.

Just up the coast, in the next village of Villefranche-sur-mer, La Trinquette Jazz Club hosts jazz groups on Friday, and Saturday nights.  Cover charge 15€ that goes to the musicians.   30 Avenue du Général de Gaulle, right on the Port de la Darse.

Monaco has a seaside jazz club, La Note Bleue that hosts super concerts on Fridays and Saturdays in the warmer months.  Av. Princesse Grace, in the Lavroto seaside restaurant complex.

Summer Open-Air Jazz in Nice

On summer Thursday nights from 8pm, just as the sun goes behind the Chateau, there are free Jazz concerts on the far side of the Nice port in conjunction with the Jazz’Art Lympia concert series Tram stop Port.

Concerts Schedules

To stay up to date on all concerts and who’s playing where, pick up the monthly La Strada, or the quarterly Le Jazzophone, which has the added bonus of an up-to-date online listing of all the upcoming concerts, gigs and happenings around Nice and the Cote d’Azur.

By the way, the jazz radio station in Nice is TSF Jazz at 98.1, but  FIP from Paris is my favorite with an eclectic mix during the day and jazz every night, but it’s only available on the web or as a free app.

Bop 1 Lio Fantini

Jazz Art: Check out the highly original photopeintures© by Lio Fantini based on local musicians in some of the jazz venues mentioned above.  His gallery is La Galerie Numérique in Mougins Village.

Photo credits: Denia Ridley at Shapko by Gianni Sacco, Cave Romagnan by Alain Morana Best of Nice, and ‘Bop 1’ photopeinture© courtesy of Lio Fantini.

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