Jazz notes fill the Manhattan air every night, with hundreds of venues featuring jazz, from marquee names like Ben E. King to no names. And while attending a jazz club in one of the world's most expensive cities can leave your wallet singing the blues, you can still find great music on the cheap.
"There are some down-and-dirty places that our students go to," says Dave Greenblatt, director of academic affairs at the New School's Jazz and Contemporary Music Program in New York City. "You might not see the biggest names -- they're the ones who charge 40 or 50 bucks -- but you can hear young hot musicians for $15 or $20."
The list of hep-cat venues that won't ruin your credit rating runs long. Most of the clubs feature young upstarts, are delightfully cramped and intimate, often charge no more than $25 to enter and have one to zero drink minimums.
For starters, Greenblatt recommends 55 Bar (55 Christopher St.) for experimental jazz; Fat Cat (75 Christopher St.) for more traditional sounds, and its sister property, Smalls (183 W. 10th St.); Smith's Bar (708 Eighth Ave.); the living room-size Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia St.); and Detour (349 E. 13th St.).
For a non-club scene, the Jazz Gallery (290 Hudson St.) is a performance space with art-covered walls and $12-$15 jazz almost every night of the week. And for those on the freebie circuit: During the last weeks of every semester, the New School's jazz department features free student performances daily. For a schedule of the school's jazz events: 212-229-5896, www.newschool.edu/jazz. Also seek out All About Jazz, a local publication that lists jazz happenings and clubs; you can also find it at www.allaboutjazz.com/newyork.
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