The largest Moscow open-air jazz festival, Usadba Jazz, may have already taken place, and the big resort fests are a month away — but jazz lovers should not despair. There are some great summer festivals in Moscow parks and open-air night clubs until the end of summer, or possibly even into September if weather permits.
City of Jazz (Gorod Jazz)
Soul, jazz mainstream, and crossover
Aptekarsky Ogorod can hold up to 3,500 guests, but there are no seats: you bring your own cushions and rugs. And since this is the oldest botanical garden in the city, food and drinks are prohibited, but there are many fast-food and upscale cafes and restaurants nearby. Come to hear television show "Voice" participant Alyona Toimintseva, Montreux Jazz Festival 3rd-place winner pianist Evgeny Lebedev, legendary Soviet sax player Alexei Kozlov, and the popular pianist Dmitry Ilugdin. Cover: 650-1,000 rubles, booked online and purchased by cash or credit card at the entrance.Aptekarsky Ogorod
26 Prospekt Mira, Bldg.1. Metro Prospekt Mira
Every Fri., Sat., Sun. at 8 p.m.
ParkSeason Jazz Saturdays
All kinds of jazz
This jazz fest is held on the Central Stage of Sokolniki Park with seats like in a theatre, plenty of food stands with snacks, teas and coffees. Even though the concerts start at 5 p.m. and finish at 7 p.m. — atypically early for jazz gigs —this is not the place for kids. The jazz bands of Anton Rumyantsev and Alina Rostotskaya are more for adults unless your child started listening to Nirvana and Erykah Badu at the age of five. But the greatest advantage of this place is that if it rains, you're cool — there's a special roof they pull out. Admission is free.
In the Sky Above Moscow
Jazz standards and avant-garde
Not a bad place for people nostalgic for Soviet dÎcor and service. This is probably the cheapest place to hear such famous jazz vocalists as Marina Volkova and elite jazz sax player Alexei Kruglov. The space, which holds up to 100 people, is on the roof of the podium-museum of Vera Mukhin's legendary "Worker and Collective Farm Girl" sculpture. Going to the roof takes a while in a complicated system of elevators, but you'll be rewarded with the nice view of night Moscow. Up on the roof there are seats like in a theatre and a food stand with simple snacks and coffee. Not the best sound or organization, but can be good. Cover charge is 300 rubles at the entrance.
"Worker and Collective Farm Girl" Museum and Exhibition Center
123B Prospekt Mira. Metro VDNKh
Every Fri., Sat. at 8 p.m.
Summer Jazz Parking Festival
Top pick this summer
This may be the best and most comfortable place to listen to jazz this summer. Tables need to be booked in advance for a deposit, but entrance is free with reasonable face control. Once inside you can hang around the stage with just a glass of wine as long as you don't crowd the stage or bother the sound producer, one of the best in the city. This is a real jazz outing, where you can hear some of the best Russian soul and pop-jazz singers, smooth jazz, fusion, jazz standards, jazz rock in a luxurious open-air night club. If you're lucky, you can meet jazz celebrities, famous participants and winners of the "Voice," such as Eteri Beriashvili, Mariam Merabova, Margarita Pozoyan, Polina Zizak — and even get a photo with them.
We Are From Jazz
All kinds of jazz at VDNKh
This is the third summer music and theatrical season of the Green Theatre at VDNKh, reopened in 2014 after extensive renovations. The schedule is not all jazz, but sometimes after a careful check of their events list you can find some real stars of jazz and opera, like Daniel Kramer and Khibla Gerzmava with their program "Opera.Jazz.Blues." On Sundays their regular jazz program might seem exotic to jazz club goers. Orchestras like "Full Moon City Jazz Band" and "Sinfonietta" have never been played any of the Moscow jazz clubs. That makes the project even more intriguing. Admission is free.
Green Theatre of VDNH
119 Prospekt Mira. Metro VDNKh
Every Sun. at 3 p.m.
Radio Mayak's Summer Studio
Jazz and jazz-inspired music in city center
Inspired by the great response from listeners last summer, Radio Mayak is setting up their summer terrace again, only this time they'll be in the heart of Moscow on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad starting from July 16. They plan to broadcast live concerts and talks by guest speakers. This time the live concerts will be hosted by DJ Yevgeny Stakhovsky, who might be really good but is probably not as good at Mayak's Igor Ruzheinikov and Max Kovalevsky. The producers Radio Mayak's summer studio do not promise great jazz bands every weekend, but hopefully at least once a month you can listen to good commercial bands inspired by jazz like Gayana, Guru Groove Foundation and Shoo Music. Admission is free.
Radio Mayak's Summer Studio
Triumfalnaya Ploshchad. Metro Mayakovskaya
Every Sat. and Sun. at 8 p.m. starting July 16