Places to Experience Jazz in Bangkok
Not a lot of people recall that the King of Thailand was born in the USA and spent a period of time living in Switzerland. Because of this exposure to the global village at an early age, it’s fair to say the King has a more receptive appreciation of world culture than most.
Many people call Jazz the 20th century’s only modern form of classical music, though of course that definition of high art is often disputed in audiophile circles.
It’s documented in Royally approved books that the King has often enjoyed his innermost circle’s company while playing Jazz late into the night so that relaxed and intimate discussions with his closest allies can take place in an informal setting.
The King has composed many Jazz numbers and his creative work has been published in both the written form of score music and recorded media such as Vinyl and CDs.
Brown Sugar was voted one of the best bars in the world by Newsweek in the 90’s when it was located on Sarasin Road. Opened in 1985 Brown Sugar has consistently played Jazz in some of the most elegantly Jazz oriented settings in the nation’s capital.
Part of the Jazz experience is to be in a slightly small, darkened setting where the atmosphere and decorations are punctuated with stylistic nods towards the birth and history of Jazz. This is Brown Sugars forte; providing a full on jazz experience to some of the oldest and most loyal customers in Bangkok.
The bar has since moved from Sarasin road to Phrasumen Road where it is now open all day as a restaurant and a coffee house. The music plays seven days a week and upstairs is room for 200 with art and poetry reading events to keep an eye out for.
Saxophone Pub only opened a couple of years after Brown Sugar in the Eighties and has consistently offered a terrific Jazz alternative to Brown Sugar. Where Brown Sugar was smaller and more intimate on Sarasin road, Saxophone was always more earthy and rebellious.
The distinctive Thai Jazz feel surfaces more at Saxophone with their support for lots of live acts and because of the size of the place many larger ensembles have played there, filling up the environment with a good cross section of international and Thai society.
Brown Sugar’s location on Victory Monument has always been part of its energetic appeal. There’s something counter culture about this area of Bangkok where people gather to articulate their feelings and emotion during times of crisis and pressure. Also appealing is the proximity of Sky train and various forms of transport around Brown Sugar.
It’s a very democratic feeling where all walks of life are welcome and the buzz and hubbub of the locale is part of the enjoyment of going to Saxophone as well as leaving it slightly euphoric and mildly intoxicated with the sounds of Jazz and the flavours of your favourite tipple.