If you're new in town, it can take a while to find this little gem, sitting right on the river's edge opposite the city's Eagle Street Pier. It's just a short ferry ride across the river from the business precinct, but on this side it truly feels like you're miles away from the hustle and bustle.
Add to this the funky atmosphere of a club founded 40 years ago from humble beginnings in an old Brisbane boatshed (and still run by volunteer enthusiasts), excellent acoustics, tasty meals cooked on the barbecue and served at your table, and a reasonably priced yet well-stocked bar, and wow, you could be in a major city anywhere in the world shelling out a fortune – yet you're right here in Brisbane, enjoying classy jazz on the riverfront for a relaxed, culturally enriching and reasonably priced evening.
I love this place and have never been disappointed at the line-up. Recently I caught the Bob Schultz Quintet, and was, as usual, blown away by the talent and finesse of the musicians that step up on to that stage.
For an interesting evening, try the regular "open mike" nights, where 5 or 6 budding jazz singers present a few numbers backed by a seasoned trio of musicians. I have seen some really promising talent at these evenings hosted by local jazz icon, the lovely Ingrid James.
To stay in touch with what's on, you can subscribe to the club's regular email update from the BJC website. They also have a facebook page if you want to keep up with news in a more immediate way.
In between sets, make sure to wander out to the river deck. I'm always struck by the amazing setting. On a balmy night, it's a real treat to pop out for some fresh air and drink in the atmosphere and the location.
In the devastating 2011 floods, the Brisbane Jazz Club building went under. Luckily they had some warning, and were able to get everything out. Pretty much like the rest of Brisbane, after the initial shock club members and supporters, undeterred, chose to take the setback as an opportunity to rebuild. With the help of state and local government grants their efforts are continuing. The community response was impressive. People simply turned up and set to work.
This club adds so much to the cultural life of Brisbane, we should consider ourselves lucky that 40 years ago some locals had the foresight to set it up. Here's to the dedicated band of volunteers and the handful of staff who keep that vision going.