While there’s no single venue that’s all-jazz-all-the-time on the Seacoast, there are several of them that do present jazz—some of them several nights a week, some of them only occasionally. We count our blessings. (Click on the venue name below to be taken to its website.).
THE PRESS ROOM
77 Daniel Street, Portsmouth // 603.431.5186
Since opening its doors in 1976, The Press Room has established itself over the years as one of New England’s premiere jazz rooms. In 2017, the venue’s ownership changed, and The Press Room closed for renovations. When it reopened in 2018, it emerged as a world-class music room.
The traditions continue. Sunday Night Jazz at The Press Room has been an institution, originally hosted by Tommy Gallant and his Trio, these days by the Ryan Parker Trio. Sunday Night Jazz continues to welcome some of the best-known artists from the Seacoast, from New England, and indeed from all over the country. The Larry Garland Jazz Jam on Tuesday nights is another Press Room institution that’s been running for some four decades.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
30 Academic Way, Durham,NH
UNH is a great and consistent presenter of jazz on the Seacoast. Its Traditional Jazz Concert Series, launched in 1979, is made possible by a generous gift from the estate of Ms. Dorothy C. Prescott. The Series features musicians of regional, national and even international prominence and to date has presented more than 200 concerts, featuring legendary jazz musicians such as Clark Terry, Benny Carter, Marian McPartland, Dave McKenna, Lee Konitz, Nicholas Payton, Frank Wess, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, and Red Norvo. In addition to this Series, UNH also presents frequent concerts by faculty members and student ensembles, these performances free to the public.
328 Central Avenue, Dover, NH // 603.343.4332
Sonny’s is a relatively new venue on the Seacoast. On Tuesday nights, the popular Soggy Po’ Boys perform.
24 Winter Street, Newburyport, MA // 603.617.3633
Andiamo is an Italian restaurant with a serious weekly jazz event. Each Wednesday night, drummer Phil McGowan brings to the bandstand some of the Boston area’s best, most notable jazz musicians.
THE DANCE HALL
7 Walker Street, Kittery, ME // 207.703.2083
The Dance Hall presents an eclectic mix of musical genres and performance types. Invariably, once or twice a month, there’s jazz on the schedule.
BOOK & BAR
40 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth // 603.427.9197
This is a small, comfortable room with a nice vibe. Pick through their Events Calendar, and you can usually find a night when jazz is presented.
THE MUSIC HALL
28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth // 603.436.2400
Called the “crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene” by Yankee magazine, The Music Hall in Portsmouth is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, one designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the US Senate, Jazz, alas, is not often on The Music Hall’s calendar, but when it is, it’s probably somebody very, very big.