The Best Jazz in Georgetown
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 22:04
When most students are searching for a night featuring live music, they head over to the U Street Corridor. However, a few more knowledgeable ones know that there is no need to travel so far to experience some good old-fashioned jazz. Due to its location down an alley on the south end of Wisconsin Avenue, tucked in between Serendipity and Rugby, it is no surprise that many Georgetown students walk right past the Blues Alley Jazz Club. It is one of the hidden gems of the Georgetown neighborhood — a historical venue that brings live music to the other side of town.
Blues Alley was founded in 1965 and is currently the oldest surviving jazz club in the nation. The club has a full bar and restaurant that features Creole cuisine, seafood dishes and steak. Blues Alley is open for business nightly, with shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. that feature talented jazz musicians. Recent performers have included D.C.’s own Sine Qua Non, but in the club’s nearly 50 years it’s played host to renowned jazz artists such as Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Gil Scott-Heron. Blues Alley’s popularity spans generations and attracts music lovers of all ages from all over the world. It boasts some notable clientele as well. "Stevie Wonder swings by to check out a show from time to time," Lou Valdez, one of the Blues Alley managers, said.
The dim lighting and small size of the room create a very intimate setting for patrons of Blues Alley. Candles on every table of the venue lend the room its main source of light and let visitors feel close to the performers. It doesn’t take a jazz aficionado to appreciate the smooth sounds of the live performance. The staff encourages all music lovers to come to Blues Alley and hopes to attract more college students to the establishment. Student discounts are available for certain shows by contacting the club manager.
Valdez describes Blues Alley as a great club with a lot of history that "provides musical education" to all its patrons. But don’t take his word for it. "The only way to describe Blues Alley would be actually to experience it. There’s only so much words can describe. Some things you have to experience yourself," Valdez said. The club is large enough for groups, but it is also a great spot to take a date or grab dinner with a few close friends. If you’re looking for music with a little more soul than whatever the disc jockey at Rhino is playing, grab some friends or that cute girl or guy you’ve been eyeing at Yates and head over to Blues Alley to enjoy a night of food and live jazz, different from anything else in Georgetown.