Around the world in five gigs.

I've been looking for some jazz clubs to perform at around the world. The criteria that I am looking for includes intimate, interactive, “looks like a fun place”, and it has to serve booze. It's a bonus if the joint serves really good food. That's my criteria… I'm sticking to it.

I've always been fascinated with jazz clubs and New York City, Chicago and Paris… I've even been fascinated with a couple of jazz joints in London England. So over the past few months I've been sniffing around trying to find my top 5 jazz clubs that I would like to perform at. I've come up with this short list of jazz stages that I am making part of my mission to perform on in the next 5 years.

Now, I know I don't perform that often but I've been wondering if maybe what I've been missing is the adventure of jazz. Jazz can take you anywhere in the world so I guess I better get out there and do some more gigs, meet some more people and put my money where my mouth is. As I've said many times before, “we are all in the proof business”. Like anyone, I'm going to have to prove that I have the chops to perform on these incredible stages for audiences who are looking for extraordinary talent.

Here's a list of the 5 jazz clubs I intend to perform at:

1. Smoke jazz and supper club, New York City

This tiny little jazz club only has room for 50 people. It sounds small, but has a big reputation. Trip advisor describes it as “Manhattan's most distinguished jazz venue with an addition very uncommon to jazz clubs–great food.”

I like the idea of such an intimate place where you can see the customers eyes. Nothing is better in my opinion than a delicious dinner, fun friends, great wine and an evening of fun jazz. And from what looks like, Smoke jazz and supper club is a place where all that is readily available.

2. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington

Look at how beautiful this place is!!

Jazz Alley is a beautiful restaurant jazz club/drinking establishment where legendary jazz artists such as Chick Corea play at. This is a supper club with incredible sightlines, great food, superb sound and a reputation second to none.

I personally love that this club is in Seattle where Quincy Jones and Ray Charles got their start so many years ago. This jazz venue is probably one of the most beautiful performance spaces/eating establishments in the world. In fact, the Seattle Times calls Jazz Alley: “a world-class jazz club where music and food, musicians and audience garnered equal respect.” It's always great to see that the audience is included as part of the reason why a jazz club has earned respect.

3. Body and Soul, Tokyo, Japan

There is a funny little jazz club in Tokyo called Body and Soul. It's been open since 1974 and it looks like a place that is community jazz club that has mostly Japanese jazzers but it looks like they sing in English. It's considered a large jazz club with capacity for around 50 to 75 patrons. I guess in Japan that's big!

Now I've never been to Japan, so don't really know what to expect. I am taking some Japanese lessons out of respect in case I do go to Japan someday (which I will) but all my best jokes are in English… and I wonder how they will translate?

I would say that the Blue Note jazz club in Tokyo would be another place that I would like to play at but let's be realistic… I ain't Blue Note material!

4. Le Baiser Sale, Paris, France

A friend I met in the summer told me up about this place in Paris. He said it's the place to go if you want to go experienced jazz in a relaxed setting in Paris. Sounds good to me! Upon further research I learned that this venue is open all sorts of jazz including world, fusion, experimental and even evenings of jazz standards.

This place looks like somewhere Toulouse-Lautrec would have come out at in Paris. There's neon, wooden chairs and that orangey kind of light that makes everything look warm. Pictures of snazzy/jazzy performers hang on the walls and there's a feeling of history combined with fun. And you know how I am one that comes to combining fun with jazz… the more the better.

5. Pizza Express jazz club, London, England

The 5th place that I would like to play at is a place that might not sound like a jazz venue. It might sound like a local pizza joint… because it is. Pizza Express is a restaurant chain that puts its money where its talent is. On its website, it says: “Pizza Express is been championing a live music on the high street for 40 years with some of the most important live music venues in the country…”

Jamie Cullum got his start ten years ago playing at Pizza Express locations throughout London when he would get paid 50 pounds and a free pizza. Now Jamie is an international jazz superstar, has a record deal and hangs out with Clint Eastwood of all people on a regular basis (Clint is a big jazz fan if you don't didn't already and his son Kyle often plays with Jamie).

Pizza express jazz club in London, England… save a spot for yours truly in the years to come! I'll be there someday soon and how do I know that will happen? Because the difference between a wish and reality is doing the work to achieve it!

Tim Tamashiro