Milwaukee is home to a passionate jazz scene with a long and storied history. Much of the city's jazz pedigree is rooted in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood that hosted ground-breaking musicians like Billie Holliday, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie in the heyday of jazz. That heritage is part of the annual Bronzeville Week celebrations in August.
Today, you can catch local and traveling musicians live every Wednesday through Saturday at Caroline’s Jazz Club, an intimate, classic club where the music takes center stage. While you'll find open blues and jazz jams on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, Friday and Saturday are all about the bands.
The Jazz Estate is a longtime local favorite – the club has hosted national and local musicians for more than 40 years and recently received a full refresh, including a remodel as well as an all-new menu of classic cocktails. Unassuming on the outside, inside on the stage you'll find jazz greats.
Need dinner along with the music? Transfer Pizzeria is known for delicious bruschettas and pizzas. But on Thursday nights (October through May), Transfer hosts the Martini Jazz Lounge starting at 7:30, bringing in great live musicians with $5 classic martinis and no cover.
Newer on the scene is Gibraltar, an eclectic music lounge with speakeasy-inspired style founded by noted flamenco guitarist Evan Christan. As the name might imply, this club draws inspiration from both Europe and Africa in both design, menu, and music. A historic jazz club turned community arts center, the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts still hosts a weekly open jazz jam, often frequented by Milwaukee jazz legend Manty Ellis.