By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For a city home to the sounds of samba, bossa nova, and baile funk, Rio de Janeiro has a jazz scene that is brimming with creativity and excitement. From a world-renowned jazz-club built at the heart of a favela community to improvised concerts at a famous sunset spot, here are the five best places to see jazz in Rio de Janeiro.
Located in the center of the favela community, Tavares Bastos, near Catete, the Maze is a truly one-of-a-kind jazz venue. Founded, built and run by expatriate Bob Nadkarni, this Gaudi-esque building houses an art gallery, bed and breakfast, and also puts one of Rio’s best jazz nights every first Friday of the month. Expect local talent, an atmosphere of shared adventure, and stunning views of the city below.
Blue Note, located on Rio’s beautiful Lagoa (lake), is considered by many to be the city’s premier jazz club. Part of the Blue Note group, with sister clubs in New York and Tokyo, its stage has hosted such world famous stars as Tony Bennett, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Dr. John. With a notably upmarket atmosphere and crowd, this is the venue in Rio to listen to high-quality jazz from big names playing in a New York style setting.
A huge three-storey warehouse in the heart of Lapa that mixes food, drinks, antiques and music, Rio Scenarium is one of Rio’s favorite clubs. It’s equally popular with gringos, too, being named one of the top ten bars in the world by the Guardian in 2006. Though the music varies from night to night, the club features many jazz bands and even hosted this year’s Lavradio Jazz Fest.
Beco das Garrafas
Becos das Garrafas (Alley of the Bottles) lays claim to being the birthplace of Bossa Nova – that uniquely Cariocan blend of jazz and samba. Elis Regina, Jorge Ben and Baden Powell have all performed on its stage, though the crowd used to be a little less appreciative of these new sounds, hurling bottles at the young upstarts (hence the name). The venue lay abandoned for some time before being rediscovered and reinvigorated. It now hosts new talents as well as Brazilian greats playing in the genres of bossa nova, samba, as well as jazz.
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Lapa, TribOz is a listening space for jazz music in all of its wildest and most imaginative forms. With an emphasis on dynamic jazz, international acts, improvisation, spontaneity and originality, TribOz has been wowing music fans from around the world since opening in 2008. Founded by the Australian ethnomusicologist, Mike Ryan, the venue also offers excellent Australian wine and snacks.
The rock that marks the border between Copacabana and Ipanema beach is famous for attracting crowds of people for its stunning sunsets and surfers for its waves and floodlit water. It does also occasionally play host to jazz performances that are nothing short of sensational, although often unadvertised.