The American jazz musician Louis Armstrong once said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” But even if you have to ask, you have a good chance of finding out more about this type of music at the Jazz Club Hanover. The club was established in 1966 and it has become one of the most prestigious jazz clubs in Europe. Its founders wanted to create a venue for jazz enthusiasts to share their passion for the genre. At that time, the main priority was to help return Germany’s unofficial epicentre of jazz to its former glory. Famous musicians, such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton have played in the cellar on the Lindener Berg.
An audience of 130 takes the room to full capacity. As there is not very much space, the seats have to be positioned right up to the stage. The interior walls of the former recreation centre are completely painted in orange. This is why the Jazz Club is also known to some people as the Orange Club. Between 60 and 80 concerts are performed here each year. In 2014, the club became an official partner of the UNESCO – City of Music event. In 2018, it won the state of Lower Saxony’s music prize for the second time.
The members of the Jazz Club Hanover e.V. were keen to ensure that jazz would be heard beyond the walls of the club and across the entire city. This is why when the club was just one year old, its members organised the first open-air “Swinging Hanover Festival”. Around 40,000 visitors have been attending the festival that takes place in front of the New Town Hall on Ascension Day ever since. But things were very different in 2020. For the first time in the club’s history, the open-air event had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the sounds of jazz and swing music were livestreamed directly into people’s homes.
Hanover therefore has its very own distinctive answer to the question: what is jazz? And Louis Amstrong also played his part in unravelling the mystery when he played at the Jazz Club Hanover.