Welcome to legendary Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen
Jazzhus Montmartre is the historic jazz hotspot of Copenhagen, presenting world class live jazz at the original intimate venue where the famous club started back in 1959 at Store Regnegade 19A in the heart of the Danish capital.
Dexter Gordon at Montmartre, 1964. Photo: Playboy Magazine.
From 1959-1976, the club made jazz history as the European home for jazz giants Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Kenny Drew and many other masters of the 1960's and 70's.
A large group of top artists all moved to Copenhagen because of the special atmosphere of Montmartre as the club got under their skin with a special ambiance and an extraordinary crowd.
Re-opening in 2010
The re-opening of the historic venue in May 2010 was initiated by journalist-turned-entrepreneur, journalist and media executive Rune Bech and jazz pianist Niels Lan Doky.
The new Jazzhus Montmartre quickly became a Copenhagen top attraction again. The New York Times included Montmartre on its much-hyped list of must-see-places in the city under the headline "Rebirth Of Cool".
Restoring the club became a passion project for a dedicated group of volunteers out of love for jazz and the history of Montmartre, which has often been called "The Village Vanguard of Europe" in homage to its legendary sister club in New York.
Founder and CEO Rune Bech in front of one of the famous Montmartre art masks decorating the walls in the historic venue. Photo: Gorm Valentin.
A Non-Profit Organization
Montmartre co-founder Rune Bech donated the funding capital for Jazzhus Montmartre (read the interview with him in the Danish jazz magazine Jazz Special here). Before re-opening Montmartre he was a foreign correspondent for Politiken from 1989 and a tv reporter for Danish TV 2. He co-founded the independent health information portal NetDoctor.com in 1998 before becoming Digital Director for the leading Danish broadcaster TV 2 in 2001. Later he co-founded several ventures in Danmark and the UK.
Rune Bech wanted Montmartre would be a non-profit organization. As a consequence Jazzhus Montmartre was set up as a foundation with former DR chairman Michael Christiansen as Montmartre's chairman, and Rune Bech and lawyer Ole Borch as fellow board members.
The original Montmartre proprietor Herluf Kamp-Larsen (left) in a chat with Rune Bech at the historic re-opening in 2010. (Photo by Lærke Possalt, Politiken)
Before re-opening Jazzhus Montmartre the founders wrote eight missions for the club, The Montmartre Manifesto. In short, Montmartre should be an international landmark of great jazz and a place that discovers and presents new talent with world class potential. It is the ambition "to create a paradise for life lovers with a cozy and sincere ambience". And, most importantly, "Montmartre should be known for its warm, welcoming and homey atmosphere attracting good people that follow their heart in life".
Swedish jazz diva Lisa Nilsson and her trio performing at Montmartre. (Photo by Torben Christensen)
Back in the 1960's and 70s the great American masters, having relacated to Denmark, educated a whole generation of Danish jazz masters, including the famous Danish bass players Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Mads Vinding, Jesper Lundgaard and Bo Stief, drummer Alex Riel, and trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg.
Among the other giants playing regularly at Montmartre during that era were Roland Kirk, Oscar Pettiford, Joe Harris, Buddy Tate, Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Bud Powell, Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley, Cecil Taylor, Brew Moore, Harold Goldberg, Lucky Thompson, Archie Shepp, Johnny Griffin, Art Taylor, Booker Erwin, Albert Ayler, Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), Don Cherry, Rune Gustafsson, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Eli Thompson, Sonny Rollins, Yusef Lateef, George Russel, Teddy Wilson, Paul Bley, Bill Evans, Eddie Gomez, Richard Boone, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart, Keith Jarrett, Miroslav Vitous, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Lee Konitz, Louis Jordan, Charles Mingus, Ken McIntyre, Nat Adderley, Donald Byrd, Tony Williams, Lou Bennett, Phil Woods, Charles McPherson and Dizzy Gillespie.
Watch this great fly-on-the-wall Youtube clip of Dexter Gordon in Montmartre's legendary upstairs backstage room above the club, in which he is practising on his sax before walking down the stairs onto the stage, pure gold (warm thanks to photographer Teit Jorgensen):
In 1976 the club moved to a new location (Nørregade) and eventually closed in 1995 after having been writing jazz history as Europe's cutting edge jazz club and a playground for especially American and Scandinavian jazz.
Many Volunteers And Generous Donors
The club is run by a few of part time staffs together with a team of dedicated volunteers. With a limited audience capacity of only 85 seats, Montmartre is dependent on donations and membership fees from its club, Friends of Montmartre. Some of Denmark's large cultural trust fonds have supported the re-opening.
The Rebirth Of The Famous Montmartre Masks
The old Jazzhus Montmartre was known for the plaster masks that became an icon for the club in the 1960's.
They were created in 1959 by the artist Mogens Gylling and attracted attention around the world as a remarkable work of art.
When Montmartre closed in 1976 the masks disappeared, but the Montmartre team convinced Gylling, who still lives outside Copenhagen, to make a reincarnation of his famous wall art with a twist.The ten new masks were put back on the wall by the artist himself during Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2010, an event heavily covered by the media.
Photo by Jan Persson, 1964.
Photo: Ole Dan Jørgensen, 2010
In March 2012 Montmartre presented a 102 m2 large art decoration of the club's ceiling made by Berlin based Danish artist Asmund Havsteen Mikkelsen, supported by Realdania.
Artist Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen. Photo by Torben Christensen, Scanpix.
We all at Montmartre look forward to welcoming you to the club. Bring a warm heart for at great night out.