Where would jazz be without jazz clubs?
Clubs are central to jazz history — from the Chicago speakeasies where Louis Armstrong first became famous, to Harlem showplaces like the Cotton Club where Duke Ellington ruled the roost, to legendary rooms like the Village Vanguard, Birdland and the Lighthouse Cafe where greats from Billie Holiday to Thelonious Monk honed their styles.
"For many years, there weren't really jazz concerts, and [jazz] festivals didn't come in until the 1950s," says Dan Morgenstern, the Grammy-winning director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers Newark. "Clubs mean a lot. That was where you went to see the music. Where else would you go?"
These days, the remaining rooms in New York charge (often) exorbitant covers to (often) foreign tourists. And jazz in North Jersey is a far cry from what it was even in the 1960s, when a city like Newark had two dozen or more jazz lounges, each with its own organ trio.
Still, there are more jazz rooms around than you might think — some of them full-time jazz venues like Trumpets in Montclair and Shanghai Jazz in Madison, and others, restaurants and bars that have their weekly "jazz night."
Here are some places where Jersey jazz fans can get their fix – and Jersey jazz musicians can learn their sublime but difficult trade.
Harvest Bistro & Bar, 252 Schraalenburgh Road. 201-750-9966 or harvestbistro.com.
Jazz 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Thursdays. No cover, no minimum.
Griffin's Restaurant, 44 E. Madison Ave. 201-541-7575 or griffinsrestaurant.com. Jam night 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., every second Wednesday with guitarist Bill Moraites and keyboardist Bobby Knee. Live music 9 p.m. to midnight most Saturdays. No cover, no minimum.
Glen Rock Inn, 222 Rock Road. 201-445-2362 or glenrockinn.com. Jazz 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. No cover, $15 minimum.
Solari's Restaurant, 61 River St. 201-487-1969 or solarisrestaurant.com.
Big band swing orchestra, 8:30 p.m. to midnight the first Tuesday of the month. Piano jazz with Jimmy Sabini, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays. No cover, no minimum, reservations suggested.
Stony Hill Inn, 231 Polifly Road. 201-342-4085 or stonyhillinn.com. Betty Liste Trio, 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays. No cover, no minimum.
Whiskey Café, 1050 Wall Street West. 201-939-4889 or whiskeycafe.com. Big Band Swing with James L. Dean Orchestra, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. the third Sunday of the month. $15 cover, including buffet.
The Jazzberry Patch at the Classic Quiche Café, 330 Queen Anne Road. 201-692-0150 or classicquiche.com.
Live music 8 to 11 p.m. Fridays. $10 cover, $10 minimum.
Puffin Cultural Forum, 20 Puffin Way. 201-836-349, ext. 28, or puffinculturalforum.org. Sporadic jazz programs; $10 admission.
Pianos Bar and Grill, 36 Broad St. 973-743-7209 or pianosbarandgrill.com.
Live jazz from 2 to 6 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday of the month. $15 cover includes appetizer choice.
Shanghai Jazz, 24 Main St. 973-822-2899 or shanghaijazz.com.
Live music 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays. No cover, $15 to $35 food and drink minimum, depending on night.
Palazzo, 11 S. Fullerton Ave. 973-746-6778 or palazzonj.com.
Jazz 7 to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. No cover, no minimum.
Trumpets, 6 Depot Square. 973-744-2600 or trumpetsjazz.com.
Live jazz Wednesdays through Sundays. Cover charge and minimum varies.
Bethany Baptist Church, 275 W. Market St. 973-623-8161 or bethany-newark.org. Jazz 6 p.m. first Saturday of the month. Free admission.
The Priory Jazz Club, 233 W. Market St. 973-639-7885 or newcommunity.org/events. Jazz 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays. No cover; minimum food and beverage purchase required.
Skipper's Plane Street Pub, 304 University Ave. 973-733-9300 or skippersplanestreetpub.com. Jazz jam 8 p.m. to midnight Mondays. Jazz matinee 4 to 8 p.m. Sundays. No cover, $10 minimum.
The Turning Point, 468 Piermont Ave. 845-359-1089 or turningpointcafe.com.
Jazz and blues; cover charge varies.
Sushi Lounge, 235 Route 46 West. 973-890-0007 or sushilounge.com.
Sunday jazz in the summer. No cover, no minimum.