Don’t switch off at the word ‘jazz’. Don’t. Do. It! At Matt & Phred’s, jazz isn’t a stage jammed with toe-tapping guys in penguin suits, tranced-out on elevator muzak of their own making.
Matt & Phred’s is and has been for a number of years that nobody can agree on, a steadfast beacon of innovation on Manchester’s music scene. It provides a platform for musicians, established and new, to channel the spirit of re-invention the city is famous for. Touring outfits and international bands are also regularly on the bill.
This red-interiored twilight hotspot is not only a venue completely unique to Manchester. It’s also a place where the boundaries of jazz are stretched to the limits and downright disobeyed. Here, jazz can be a band from the Welsh valleys playing Kanye West covers. It can be an Asian hip-hop duo rapping over a piano riff. And it can even be nine guys blasting out power ballads on brass.
Many events are ticketed due to Matt & Phred’s compact size, but all are priced modestly, keeping things accessible. Monday night is free entry and open mic night, with happy hour giving the gift of two cocktails for £12 and a free pizza when you buy two drinks. Make sure you book a table in advance, as the place fills up fast, even on Mondays.
Abandon your jazz assumptions at Matt & Phred’s famous neon-lit door and step inside for some true musical innovation.