Jazzhus Montmartre is Denmark’s historic jazz hotspot. Located at Store Regnegade 19A, the venue served as European “home” for jazz giants like Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz. Today, after relocating and a period of break, the place that the New York Times included in the list of Copenhagen’s must-see attractions is back in business, stronger than ever!
Back in 1959, Jazzhus Montmartre opened as brand-new live music venue in the heart of Copenhagen. The club quickly went on to establish itself as one of the city’s leading nightlife spots, as well as one of the most-praised jazz venues in Europe.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Jazzhus Montmartre became known for its special ambience and unique interiors. It provided such a unique environment for both guests and artists, that several jazz stars became regulars after moving to Copenhagen.
Stan Getz, who lived in the Danish capital from 1958 to 1961, Dexter Gordon (who stayed in Copenhagen from 1962 to 1976) and tenor sax legend Ben Webster (who, from 1964 on, shared his time between Copenhagen and Amsterdam) all fell in love with Jazzhus Montmartre and performed there whenever they got a chance. While in town, they educated a whole generation of Danish jazz masters, including bassists Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Mads Vinding, Jesper Lundgaard and Bo Stief, drummer Alex Riel, and trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg.
Now stop reading and travel back in time (to August 1971 to be exact) with this performance by Dexter Gordon!
Masks, Top Acts and a Goodbye
Since its earlier days, Jazzhus Montmartre attracted attention around the world for being one of Europe’s most exciting places for live jazz music and for its unique interiors.
While its hot live jazz music – and stellar performances by icons like Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor and Sonny Rollins – was undoubtedly Jazzhus Montmartre’s main feature, its eclectic interiors were another reason why the venue attracted attention worldwide. A series of plaster masks created by artist Mogens Gylling in 1959 and hanged onto the Jazzhus’ walls quickly became one of the club’s “trademarks”.
Thousands of people around the world were talking about the Jazzhus Montmartre for the explosive live jazz it presented, as well as for the remarkable work of art it showcased.
These masks remained one of the most-appreciated featured of the club, until 1976 when it relocated to a new location (Nørregade) and eventually closed (in 1995).
That was the end of a place that had been writing jazz history as one of Europe’s cutting edge jazz clubs and main stages for American and Scandinavian jazz musicians in particular. After more than 30 years of great live jazz, the Jazzhus Montmartre said goodbye to its audience…
Jazzhus Montmatre, the Rebirth of Cool
…until 2010. In May 2010, Jazzhus Monmartre reopened its doors at the legendary Sore Regnegade 19A, address that hosted the club in its early period. Entrepreneur, journalist and media executive Rune Bech, alongside jazz pianist Niels Lan Doky, decided that it was time for the “Village Vanguard of Europe” to get back in business. Copenhagen needed its vibrant jazz spot back. So, thanks to Bech, Lan Doky and a group of volunteers that showed their love for jazz and the history of Jazzhus Montmartre by restoring the club, Jazzhus officially reopened. And has been successful ever since.
Interestingly, ten of the original plaster masks were put back on the wall by Mogens Gylling himself during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2010. The event was heavily covered by the media. And the talks about Jazzhus Montmartre were not limited to Danish and European media.
In the summer of 2010, the New York Times praised the new-looking Jazzhus Montmatre and, under the headline “Rebirth of Cool“, named it one of Copenhagen’s top attractions.
Since its reopening, the Jazzhus Montmartre has gone back to being one of Europe’s most prestigious jazz stages. When you hear that international stars like Tom Harrell, Kenny Werner, Mark Whitfield, Enrico Rava and Jason Moran are performing in Copenhagen, you can be pretty sure that their shows will be hosted at Jazzhus Montmatre.
The rich program features a little bit of something for everybody. From jazz and jam sessions, to Cuban nights and other special musical evenings… There is something different happening every week!
On concert days, it’s also possible to dine at the venue’s five star restaurant (review by Politiken) to combine a unique gastronomic experience with a musical one. The restaurant is open on all concert days from 5:30pm to 11:30pm. For 325,- DKK guests can have a three course set menu or an appetizer set of Charcuterie tapas for 165.- DKK.
When you are in Copenhagen and want to experience jazz just like if you were in New York City, you have to stop by the “Village Vanguard of Europe”, the cool Jazzhus Montmatre! In case you cannot make it, you can still enjoy the concerts presented at Jazzhus through the live streams of Jazz TV. Pretty cool, huh?
And now it’s your turn: we’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and tell us what was the best part of your last visit at Jazzhus Montmartre.
Thanks for reading and for your comments, we appreciate you! 🙂 Now sit back and relax with this exciting playlist that features some of the Jazzhus’ past performers.
Store Regnegade 19A, Copenhagen