When I lived in New York City I used to love strolling the streets of Greenwich Village, dipping into a dimly lit lounge to enjoy a jazz trio, and ending the night at a French bar and bistro with red wine and brie.
It’s not just NYC and New Orleans that have talented live musicians and enviable jazz bars, lounges, and dance halls. Central Florida is home to great live music venues with unique atmospheres of their own.
Whether you love jazz for dancing, crooning, or for enjoying with a dirty martini, there are jazz tunes in The City Beautiful for everyone. Use this list to craft your own date night, centered around embracing America’s national treasure – jazz – and supporting our city’s musicians and venues.
Updated September 2022 by Kelsey Glennon
Live Jazz in the Orlando Area
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts
Located right off of Fairbanks in Winter Park, The Blue Bamboo Center is filled with art and music. Their first-ever Jazz Festival offers free concerts. But the “crown jewel” of Blue Bamboo is the Orlando Jazz Orchestra. This orchestra is made up of some of the best jazz musicians of Central Florida and led by Greg Parnell, former road manager and drummer for the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
You can also enjoy the Eddie Marshall Blue Bamboo Big Band, as well as jazz trios and visiting artists you can learn about on the Blue Bamboo calendar of events. On Thursday nights, come around 8 to watch local musicians in a “jazz jam,” where musicians bring their instruments and “sit in,” or improvise together.
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts
1905 Kentucky Ave,Winter Park
Located just off of Kaley Street, you might drive right by Timucua since it looks just like a residence in the neighborhood of Delaney park. Owners Benoit and Elaine built the home specifically to host concerts. The three-tier theatre provides great views of the stage, and visitors rave about the acoustics.
Enjoy visiting jazz artists and trios (in addition to an array of other live music, comedy, poetry, and artists) in a small and intimate atmosphere. Bring your own beer or wine to share and find yourself making new friends. Best to check in with their live calendar so as not to miss jazz artists as they stop through Orlando. See what’s playing
Follow Timucua Arts Foundation on Instagram to stay updated on their events and shows.
This family-owned jazz venue in Maitland boasts live jazz performances plus a full bar and seasonally rotating restaurant menu, perfect for a complete date night. Take a look at the full entertainment calendar for weekly events (like Brazilian jazz nights) and special performances.
FYI: There is a cover charge of $10/person on Friday and Saturday nights.
LIVE JAZZ AT EDDIE V’S PRIME SEAFOOD
Eddie V's is the kind of place where jazz musicians play in suits and fresh Florida seafood is brought to your table as a “tower,” – The Shellfish Tower of lobster, shrimp, oysters, and colossal crab. Prime seafood and live jazz pair nicely, and Eddie V’s has perfected this mix.
The entertainment schedule in the V Lounge features live jazz seven nights a week, and describes the vibe as “civilized seduction.” With locations all over the country, and 3 in Florida alone (Visit the others in Ft. Lauderdale or Tampa), Eddie V’s is what you’d call a standard – timeless.
Enjoy happy hour Sunday – Thursday from 4:00-6:30p.
This intimate wine bar and restaurant is tucked away on the cobblestone streets of Hannibal Square in Winter Park. Besides the fantastic European wine list and scratch-made tapas, this date night favorite also hosts live musicians every Thursday night. Here you'll find a variety of live performances from classic jazz and bossanova, to Brazilian jazz and flamenco. Definitely make a reservation in advance, as Thursday evenings are popular and seating is limited.
READ MORE: Orlando's Most Romantic Restaurants
Get your fix of jazz and classical music at The Howey-in-the-Hills Mansion's monthly Music Series. Most of the shows take place outdoors on the beautiful terrace. The series highlights classical and jazz music from top performers.
Tickets are usually around $25/person, and you're encouraged to bring along a picnic basket and chairs. See what’s playing on The Howey Mansion Music Series webpage.
Not too far up I4 from Downtown Orlando lies an underrated Central Florida suburb, DeLand, home to this funky live music venue featuring an outdoor patio area that's both intimate and spacious. More New Orleans in style and atmosphere, Cafe DaVinci hosts occasional jazz performances. Check the calendar for upcoming shows.
This local 24-hour hangout in Winter Park is not your average coffee shop. Aside from offering organic coffee and tea, Austin's Coffee has a lively events calendar. The highlight for jazz lovers being the weekly Jazz Jamz on Thursday evenings at 9:30pm. There's no cover to get in, but arrive early to get a good seat in the small shop.
READ MORE: Unique Orlando Coffee Shops
Jamming since '92, Heidi’s is just a short drive to the Space Coast where there is live music every Wednesday through Sunday. Consider yourself a jazz aficionado? Heidi’s website hosts a page dedicated to featuring its rotating musicians, so you can develop your taste and find your following.
Love jazz and just want to stay up to date on concerts, consider joining the Central Florida Jazz Society to keep a pulse on what’s playing.
Note – Heidi's takes a break each year in September and reopens in early October.
Jazz Swing Dancing in Orlando
Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Shim Sham. Take a step back into the 1940s to swing to the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman and the like.
Join the Orlando Area Swing Dancers Facebook group, and the Dancin’ Orlando Facebook group to stay up to date on the latest swing dance socials. For only a few dollars you can drop in on a social (no partner required) and learn a few moves and meet new people.
On Saturdays in Casselberry, the Orlando Big Band accompanies a swing dance social called Saturday Night Swing. For just $15 you get a dance lesson, live big band music, and a night of joyous dancing.
4921 US HWY 1792 Casselberry Florida4921 US HWY 1792 Casselberry Florida
MORE LIVE JAZZ EVENTS
If you love the history and glamour of jazz, don’t miss Crealde School of Art’s exhibition “From Ella to Coltrane: The Jazz Photography of Roger Kallins.” The art exhibit commemorates the images of photographer Roger Kalllins (1938-2013) who captured scenes from the golden age of jazz over a period of 50 years. These original 35mm black-and-white scans show iconic moments from some of jazz’s greatest artists.
See the exhibit September 16-January 16 2023. Come to the opening and enjoy a performance by the Eddie Marshal Trio at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center from 8:30-10p on September 16.
642 W. New England Ave, Winter Park FL 32789
- Pilars Weekly Jazz Jam, Sundays
- Get Your Jazz on at the Alfond Inn, seasonal
- Sanford Art & Jazz Night, monthly
- Live Music at Digress Wine in College Park, occasional
- Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Grand Bohemian, Sundays
- The Jazz Orchestra at Dr. Phillips Center
So grab your date, get a glass (bottle?) of wine and enjoy the live jazz talents of Central Florida.
Feature image credit: Bud, Not Buddy