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Budapest Jazz Club

Budapest Jazz Club

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Primarily, it's the friendly atmosphere of the club that sets it apart, but in addition, the outstanding sound technology and instrument collection also distinguish it from many other music venues
—Kristof Keleti
The Budapest Jazz Club is a vibrant, colorful place where people meet to eat, drink, and enjoy good music. On the map, what appears to be a narrow lane, turns out in reality to be a wide bustling public walkway, and about halfway along, the small sign for the jazz club sits over a large entrance, complete with a door attendant. Entering the club there is a seating, drinking, and eating area and a small door to the rear reveals a surprisingly large concert hall with rows of seats. When I visited, the Budapest Jazz Orchestra was playing a tribute concert to Shorty Rogers. Each piece was introduced at length by a gentleman who was knowledgeable about Rogers, his enthusiasm catching whether you understood Hungarian or not. Kristof Keleti is the club's communication executive, and he was glad to give an interview for AAJ.

All About Jazz: Can you give us a brief history of the Budapest Jazz Club?

Kristof Keleti: The Budapest Jazz Club, was founded by László Bóna and Zoltán Susszer in 2007. It was originally located on Múzeum Street in the eighth district. Over the years, the club outgrew its original space and relocated to the former Duna Cinema on Ernő Hollán Street, which can accommodate several hundred people. The new venue proved to be excellently suited for operating a jazz club, featuring a spacious concert hall, superb acoustics, and a separate restaurant and bar. Over the past decade and a half, the club has managed to roughly quadruple its number of guests and has hosted over 70 productions by world-renowned artists. The club maintains a close collaboration with the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and in addition to concerts, welcomes guests with free jam session evenings five times a week.

AAJ: What can visitors expect in terms of music, genres, and acts of note?

KK: At the Budapest Jazz Club, audiences can encounter every imaginable style (except smooth and free jazz) including Latin jazz, fusion jazz, mainstream, bebop, hard bop, big band, and more. Our outstanding concerts feature performances by well-known local and international, often Grammy-winning artists.

AAJ: What would you say is the overall vibe of The Budapest Jazz Club? What makes it special and why should visitors make a bee-line for the club?

KK: Primarily, it's the friendly atmosphere of the club that sets it apart, but in addition, the outstanding sound technology and instrument collection also distinguish it from many other music venues. Furthermore, we strive to welcome our guests with a modern, all-encompassing food and drink selection, and the weekly jam session concerts mentioned above are considered a real rarity among European jazz clubs.

AAJ: Do you have any memorable sessions that come to mind of people who have played at the Budapest Jazz Club?

KK: We could mention plenty of memorable concerts, among which the most unforgettable ones were John Scofield, Kurt Elling, Mike Stern, Stacey Kent, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, and many others.

AAJ: Going forward, what are your short and long-term goals for The Budapest Jazz Club?

KK: Among our short-term goals is the development of the club's interior space, as there are always areas where investments and improvements are worthwhile to enhance quality. In the long term, we aim to maintain the current state and continue boasting a guest count similar to that of the winter season of 2023.

AAJ: Who is your clientele?

KK: Our clientele consists of approximately 70% domestic and 30% foreign tourists. The typical age group is thirty and above. We strive to constantly rejuvenate our audience and create a new generation of enthusiasts on multiple fronts.

AAJ: What are your five favorite albums?

KK:

Related Photos

Courtesy Sammy Stein

Courtesy Budapest Jazz Club

Courtesy Budapest Jazz Club

Courtesy Budapest Jazz Club

Courtesy Budapest Jazz Club


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