New York City can hold claim to great theaters, amazing restaurants and notable musicians including jazz bands. Jazz has a deep history in this city with pioneering clubs like the Cotton Club and Lenox Lounge still going strong. Today the local jazz scene has flooded to new heights. There are legions of jazz bands, including notable legends. Here are the current top five jazz bands in New York City.
Oh La La!
Retro jazz and French band Oh La La! has been serving the New York City area for years. The traveling band features French chanteuse Marie Michele whose sultry voice sets the tone for this versatile band. With retro outfits and a vintage microphone, you’re sure to feel like you’ve step into a time machine. The band has an extensive repertoire in multiple genres including soft acoustic jazz, 30s and 40s swing and classic Soul and Blues from the 50s and 60s.
Ted Hefko and The Thousandaires
Originally from Wisconsin, band lead Ted Hefko took a Greyhound bus to New Orleans at the ago of 18. Music was always his passion. After successes in the Big Easy, Ted headed to New York City in 2003 where he formed his band The Thousandaires. Ted Hefko and The Thousandaires is a jazz and blues band with a New Orleans funk. The group can be found regularly paying at The Way Station in Brooklyn.
The Jazzlanders Band
Specializing in a variety of jazz music, The Jazzlanders Band was founded by Berklee College of Music professors and alumni. The band has performed and recorded with giants of the music industry, such as Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones and Cassandra Wilson. According to the band’s website, “The Jazzlanders specializes in a variety of jazz music from timeless swing, bossa nova and samba standards.” Originally from Boston, the band now calls Brooklyn home, but you can find the group at venues across the country.
Related: Best Jazz Clubs In New York
Unidos Latin Jazz
Unidos Latin Jazz is a collaboration of professional musicians. Combining jazz standards and infusing them with Latin rhythms, Unidos has an original sound that provides a unique music experience. Unidos Latin Jazz plays music of all genres but specializes in reproducing and infusing music from Latin and jazz icons like Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader and Horace Silver.
Avalon Jazz Band
Wanting to share their love of French jazz with the American audience, musicians Adrien Chevalier and Tatiana Eva-Marie formed Avalon Jazz Band. The Parisian jazz scene of the 1940s, made popular by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, inspires the music of Avalon Jazz Band. The band represents classic French jazz music and Golden Age swing. As the band explains, it offers “old classics with a hot twist celebrating France, love and music.” Check out Avalon Jazz Band at many New York City popular venues like Le Cirque Café or The Rum House.
Related: NYC’s Best French Restaurants
Ayanna Barton is a freelance writer covering all things New York. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.