Jazz in Abu Dhabi
Best places to visit to enjoy some truly decent jazz 5 Comments
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The music scene in Abu Dhabi is quite varied – with categories such as oriental, electronic, rock, hip hop and many more. While the nation’s capital does cater to many different musical tastes, up until recently
it seemed one group was being neglected. Many jazz aficionados recall hotspots that were open over a decade ago, back when the city had a healthy selection of live jazz performances. Carla Mirza, a Lebanese expat living in Abu Dhabi, reminisces about the mid ’90s: ‘We were regulars at Colosseum in the Tourist Club Area. Back then, they had a fantastic live band.’
But is there anywhere that has decent jazz in the nation’s capital now? TOAD hit the bars to find out.
Jazz Bar & Dining, Hilton Abu Dhabi
The first spot we visit is, by many accounts, the classic choice. Open since 1997, Jazz Bar & Dining has always been known to have a live band that belt out jazzy tunes six nights a week. The venue is nearly packed when we visit on a Tuesday night, yet a waiter immediately seats us at a table. The band on stage are Maximum, a seven-member group composed of varying nationalities. The band performs on a large elevated center stage and the décor follows a white theme. All around you can notice nice little jazz details, such as the note shaped napkin holders on the tables and the painted piano keys on the floor.
Thirty minutes into our visit, we are disappointed that we still haven’t heard any actual jazz. The song list so far has consisted of more international flavours. Nevertheless, we do note that the crowd are smiling and thoroughly enjoying the performance. There’s even a female vocal version of Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’ that has a few people get up to dance between the closely spaced tables. Eventually a few jazz classics do pop up between the mainstream songs and they are performed well.
Jazz Bar & Dining is open Sun-Wed 7pm-12.30am; Thu-Fri 7pm-1.30am. Table reservations available. Hilton Abu Dhabi (02 681 1900).
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