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Where to Find Jazz in Prague

July 8, 2014

Jazz in the Czech Republic has a rich history, and its modern scene carries the tradition. Prague remains the focus, and if you want to experience it, visit these four stages.

AghaRTA

Tucked away near Old Town Square, AghaRTA jazz club is in a 14th-century basement. The name stems from a 1975 Miles Davis album. Shows start around 9 pm and carry an entrance fee of 250 CZK (~13 USD). Along with drinks, the bar sells t-shirts and CDs. AghaRTA also hosts an annual jazz festival. If you’re wandering through the Old Town and want to relax before ending the night, AghaRTA is a perfect spot to visit.

U Malého Glena

The music starts in the basement around 9:00 pm, but if you don’t have dinner in the restaurant, you miss half the appeal. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. Arrive early; the restaurant has plenty of room, but the jazz & blues club in the basement is cramped and fills fast. When I visited, the Libor Smoldas Quartet played a great set. Every night has a specific theme (blues, acoustic, jazz, etc.), and it hosts a jazz jam session on Sundays.

Blues Sklep

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Every jazz club in Prague might be below ground. A bit hard to find, Blues Sklep (basement) features blues, rock, and jazz acts at 9 pm every night. The English acoustic blues flooding the basement when I visited weren’t exactly earth-shaking, but it’s a place that’s worth your time regardless. Cover varies from 100-200 CZK (5-10 USD) for the most part.

Reduta

The oldest and most popular venue in Prague, Reduta books jazz, swing, dixieland, latin jazz, funk, soul, reggae, and other acts. In 1994, Vaclav Havel presented Bill Clinton with a Czech saxophone, which Clinton then played at Reduta, again proving just how weird the 1990s were. Ticket prices are higher here, but remain at a reasonable 250-350 CZK (13-18 USD). When I tried to go last time I visited Prague, the show was sold out, but Reduta’s reputation precedes all others.

Of the three I’ve visited, AghaRTA has the most impressive location, U Malého Glena is the most intimate, and Blues Sklep is the trickiest to find. None of these are obscure places, but if you value obscurity over quality, no one wants your hipster attitude around here anyway. For more information on the history of jazz in these parts, see here, here, here, and here.

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