Best of Boston

BEST Jazz Club

1999 BEST Jazz Club, Scene

Wally’s Cafe

Boston

Its old location, across the street from where it is today, hosted the likes of Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. The present-day stage has seen Branford Marsalis and Chick Corea. For all that, it’s still a neighborhood joint. Wally’s offers… read more»

1999 BEST Jazz Club, Traditional

Scullers Jazz Club

Boston

So it’s in a hotel, so what? Suits and garment bags can be forgotten in this dimly lighted club with its huge windows overlooking the Charles. Scullers consistently provides the city with great jazz—local bands just rising and bigger names… read more»

1998 BEST Jazz Club

Regattabar

Cambridge

Some may complain that it’s a bit pricey, but it still delivers the highest-caliber jazz acts in town. From Sonny Rollins to Herbie Hancock, Don Byron to Tito Puente, you know that Raggattastars have earned their way to the top…. read more»

1997 BEST Jazz Club, Cutting Edge

The ICA Theater

Boston

The Regattabar occasionally offers avant-garde performers like Don Byron or Michael Marcus, but no one would ever confuse with New York’s Knitting Factory. The Institute for Contemporary Art, on the other hand, in cahoots with the recently revived Boston Creative… read more»

1997 BEST Jazz Club, Scene

Wally’s Cafe

Boston

With the shutdown of the Willow and the yuppification of Bob the Chef’s, Wally’s proposed expansion into the space next to its current Massachuetts Avenue hole-in-the-wall is the best thing going. read more»

1997 BEST Jazz Club, Traditional

The Regattabar

Cambridge

The only place in town to catch big-name out-of-town acts like Sonny Rollins, Cassandra Wilson, and Tito Puente. A front-row table here for Betty Carter or Christian McBride is one of the most intimate world-class jazz experiences around. read more»

1994 BEST Jazz Club, Back-to-the-Roots

Wally’s Cafe

Boston

Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie have all played this small, dark, and smoky landmark. It’s no wonder the owners have had to defend themselves against complaints of overcrowding; this is what jazz bars were meant to be. read more»

1992 BEST Jazz Club

Willow Jazz Club

Somerville

Known to jazz addicts simply as the Willow, this club is inelegant, tiny, and out-of-the-way, yet accessible to big- and small-name musicians alike. jazz was born in dumps like this one, and it still seems to love to hang out… read more»

1991 BEST Jazz Club

The Regattabar, the Charles Hotel

Cambridge

The Regattabar is the place to go to hear big-name jazz artists. Sonny Rollins played there in May, and Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie are no strangers. July renovations—including additional carpeting and a new location for the bar—should improve the… read more»

1990 BEST Jazz Club

The Regattabar

Cambridge

Yes, it’s noisy. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, the taste is mainstream. No matter. Any club that can survive five years on Boston’s anemic jazz scene must be doing something right. read more»