Best Jazz Hotspots in Jozi


If Joburg was a movie the soundtrack would be pure jazz composition. Those sometimes sombre and often exciting notes are what the city was built upon. From Hugh Masekela’s Sophiatown to Miriam Makeba’s Soweto, the place of gold is a world of jazz heritage site.

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Niki’s Oasis

Nikki’s Oasis in Newtown is one of the oldest jazz clubs in Joburg. The intimate, relaxed vibe of this eatery goes hand in hand with the music that’s made here. Find live upright bass-baritones and authentic South African cuisine at Niki’s. What a combo!  

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Sophiatown The Mix

Sophiatown was the home of jazz during the struggle. Its streets danced to the sound of trumpets and guitars. Today that spirit is being brought back to life at the Mix, a community and creative hub added on to the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre. The music sounds so much sweeter if you know its rich history. Read up about Kofifi – Sophiatown’s other name – and go watch a show at the Mix.

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Untitled Basement @ Artivist

Untitled Basement is Joburg’s most exclusive jazz hotspot. Situated right in the heart of Braamfontein in the basement lounge of Artivist, this venue brims with cool vibes and the blues. They regularly feature up and coming jazzists, including Zoe Modiga, Mpho Sebina and Bokani Dyer.  

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Radium Beerhall

The Radium Beerhall in Orange Grove is the oldest surviving bar and grill in Johannesburg. With a genuinely historic ambience, good food and foot-tapping live jazz that makes the embossed tin ceiling vibrate in sympathy, the Radium Beerhall is a must-visit. Visit them on the first Sunday of every month for their Jazz on Sunday line up. This event is the longest running jazz show in Johannesburg, hosted at the Radium for over twenty five years.

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Katzy’s Live in Rosebank

Katzy’s is all about the music. They host live bands from Tuesday to Saturday, and are home to seven resident bands, including The Jazz Company, FUNK’D Jazz and Dolce Vita. They also offer a stellar Grillhouse menu, wine, cocktails and cigar lists, and more than 100 different whiskeys, fine cognacs and bourbons to choose from. Katzy’s is the place to be seen, and to see the best in Joburg jazz.

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The Marabi Club

The Marabi Club in Maboneng is at the forefront of the contemporary urban Afro-jazz scene. Established in 2017, this jazzy gem is well hidden beneath the Hallmark Hotel in New Doornfontein. What makes this place stand apart from other Jozi jazz clubs is it’s world class menu. Head Chef, Vusi Ndlovu, has expertly crafted a tasting menu prepared to wow your sense just as much as the sights and sounds around you. The Marabi Club is reminiscent of a true 1920’s jazz dive bar, but with a touch of 21st century Joburg. This is definitely the place where all the cool kids go.

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Jazz Hotspots

Alternative Venues

Zoo Lake – Jazz on the Lake

While Zoo Lake may not seem like the place get your jazz on, it has in fact been hosting free jazz concerts for almost 27 years. Their annual Jazz on the Lake event is one of the most popular jazz events in the city, bringing in scores of happy crowd goers every year. Only the best of the best perform at this event. So, take along a picnic blanket and enjoy a day out in the sun listening to some smooth tunes.

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Nirox Sculpture Park

Another unexpected jazz hotspot situated just outside of the city is the Nirox Sculpture Park. Located in the Cradle of Humankind, this park is a dedicated arts and heritage venue. They host an annual Jazz in the Cradle festival in collaboration with Gallery MOMO and the Standard Bank Arts Foundation. Relax on their amphitheatre lawn with family and friends and listen to the sweet sounds of contemporary African jazz melodies. 

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Sibikwa Arts Centre

The Sibikwa Arts Centre is an award winning multidisciplinary holistic arts and culture venue in Benoni. Fostering a love of art and music in the community since 1988, this arts centre regularly hosts both established and up-and-coming jazz artists. These informal concerts often bring together musicians from various backgrounds and skill sets in a lovely mish-mash of sounds. If you are looking to find a community of like-minded jazz lovers, pay the Sibikwa Arts Centre a visit.

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Sandton Convention Centre

The Sandton Convention Centre is the place to be for jazz enthusiasts come mid September. The centre is the official host of the annual Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival. For three days the venue is transformed into an all out jazz spectacular, as artists from all over the world take to the stage. The 2019 Joy of Jazz festival will be held from Thursday, 26 September – Saturday, 28 September.

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Jazz Hotspots

By Tarryn Jameson

Do you know of any other great jazz club venues in the city? Let us know about them!

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