Get jazzed up in Dubai: live music, meals, movies and more

A guide to finding the best jazz in Dubai

The Dubai Jazz Festival is officially in full swing and we can feel the rhythm in our bones. Looking forward to the massive 2017 lineup? It’s certainly inspired us to get thinking about the music and how it fits into Dubai. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of our favourite nights, recipes to try at home and a mini soundtrack that’ll jazz up your weekend (and your dinner plate).

The background

New Orleans, a major port city in the south of the United States, is the home of jazz with its meeting and mixing of cultures, sounds and styles. Improvisation is a key defining feature of the genre – musicians don’t necessarily have to stick to the written song and, if inspired, can take on a new direction whilst playing, making it all about feeling, expression and soul.

The spots

Jazz@PizzaExpress
With live music offered every night of the week in both their Dubai and Abu Dhabi restaurants, this pizza joint is ideal if you’re after some doughy-deliciousness and smooth sounds.

Blue bar
Located in the Novotel, World Trade Centre, Blue Bar is a relaxed venue that offers live jazz at the weekends.

Café Belge
Want to listen to a quartet playing old and contemporary tunes? Well then, Café Belge at the Ritz Carlton is definitely for you. Performances start at 8:30 pm, so make sure you’re there in time to get comfy.

Frankie’s
Don’t panic if you only have one or two nights spare because Frankie’s offers live performances 7 days a week. Whenever you fancy, journey down to Al Fattan Marine Tower, The Walk, JBR, pull up a chair and enjoy some classic sounds.

The meals

When there’s a chance to hear authentic rhythms in the city, it’s only right that your dinner plate keeps the beat. Host your own jazz night at home with a few of these delicious dishes.

Lobster po’ boys 
Looking for a traditional Louisiana submarine sandwich? Breadcrumbs, lemon juice, hot sauce and jalapeños mean this crackin’ meal has everything you need and just a bit more. Plus, it takes only 25 minutes to make.

Cajun prawns with green quinoa and charred pineapple  
Juicy prawns and sweet pineapple come together in a recipe that’s anything but improvisational.

Grilled oysters with smoked paprika crumbs  
There’s nothing that says decadence quite like oysters, and this dish comes with a cool, smoky edge.

Chorizo pilaf  
A take on gumbo, spicy rice should be enough to get you hitting those high notes, and then some.

Creamy seafood chowder 
Warming, delicious, comforting… perfect for when you need a little pick-me-up or are looking to score brownie points.

The flicks

La La Land (2017)

What happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

High Society (1956)

The tunes

Miles Davis' ‘So what’:


Frank Sinatra’s ‘I get a kick outta you’ and Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling good’ also do the job quite nicely. 

The little extras

  • To see if music really is beneficial to the little ones, musician Michael Janisch created an album for babies after he couldn’t find suitable tunes for his unborn child. The compilation he came up with was inspired by lullabies and jazz.
  • Ahlam Altaamare (Straight-up Bananas) likes to sing jazz in her spare time. Don’t believe us? Read the full interview here.
  • ‘The Jazz Age’ was a term invented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of ‘The Great Gatsby’, to describe the period of prosperity in America leading up to the Great Depression, caused by the Wall Street Crash.