New York’s indie music legacy has included punk rock icons the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Talking Heads, Blondie, and Sonic Youth. Many innovative jazz and blues musicians, such as freewheeling artist Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk, also made their start here. New York’s alternative music scene continues to flourish, and you can groove to creative tunes throughout the city, from East Village haunts with cheap booze and tiny corner stages to low-lit Harlem jazz joints.
Check out local bands seven nights a week at the lively Cakeshop in the Lower East Side. In the West Village, the cheery Cornelia Street Café showcases local music of all stripes, from improvisational quartets to “po’jazz,” a blend of poetry and jazz.
Tap your toes to jam sessions and Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz at the intimate lounge Smoke in Morningside Heights. The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has long been at the forefront of contemporary music, dance, and theater. Tune in to free live shows, from world music to modern vocalists, at the BAMcafé on weekends. Indie music fans might want to time a visit to New York for the CMJ Music Marathon in October, one of New York’s largest musical events.
BAM 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn;
Cakeshop 152 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side;
Cornelia Street Cafe 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village;
CMJ Music Marathon
Smoke 2751 Broadway, Morningside Heights;