Best of Boston

2024 Best Jazz Club

Wally’s Cafe Jazz Club

There are legends, and there are legends. Wally’s Café Jazz Club is the latter — a 77-year-old family-run italicized legend. Billie Holiday performed there. So did fellow American jazz greats Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. One of the first racially integrated venues in the region, the South End spot was the first New England nightclub owned by a Black man, Joseph “Wally” Walcott, a Barbadian immigrant and first Black recipient of aliquor license in Boston. More recently, Grammy-winning vocalist Esperanza Spalding and Mark Kelley, bassist for the Roots, cut their chops on Wally’s stage. As the trumpeter Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah told Boston in 2021, “Wally’s is a monument.”

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427 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617.828.1754,