Hundreds of people sit on the grass, on blankets and in chairs. There is a band playing in a small gazebo.

Shake, Rattle & Soul: Great Spots for R&B

With roots in traditional blues, jazz, and gospel, rhythm and blues (often referred to as R&B) is a term coined by Billboard writer Jerry Wexler in 1949 to describe what his magazine had previously referred to as “Race Music” when ranking Black artists on its charts. The genre gained popularity with the WWII migration of southern Blacks to major urban centers in the Midwest and on both coasts, and R&B covers an array of acts and diverse styles. From sophisticated crooners like Nat King Cole to make-em-dance doo-woppers like the Drifters, R&B has evolved but never lost its spirit. Here are some great places to experience R&B locally.

Portrait of Hazel Miller. She's wearing black and holding a microphone, smiling against a colorful backdrop

Hazel Miller. Photo courtesy of KUVO


Hazel Miller and her band, The Collective, have been bringing people to the stage since the soulful singer first arrived on the Denver scene in 1984. Recently inducted to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Hazel and Co. can be found at clubs, festivals and special events up and down the Front Range. Follow their schedule here, and check out her June cover profile in Westword.


Hundreds of people sit on the grass, on blankets and in chairs. There is a band playing in a small gazebo.

Jazz in City Park. Photo courtesy of

700 Colorado Blvd., Denver

A staple of summer Sunday evenings, locals in the know head to City Park with blankets and beer, picnics and pooches. The performers are always great, the vibes are always immaculate, and — best of all — it’s always 100% free. See ya Sunday!

Funded in part by SCFD


A busy bar and dance floor lit up with neon pink and purple lights.


1455 Coal Creek Dr., Unit T, Lafayette

This laid-back lounge in Lafayette recently moved to a new location but has been offering entertainment and eats to the Front Range for more than 15 years. From tribute bands to comedians, there’s something for everyone at Nissi’s — including a surprisingly solid menu from Chef McCord Clelland.

Exterior of Mr. A's

Mr. A’s. Photo by Courtney Drake-McDonough

Mr. A’S
3200 E. 40th Ave., Denver

“Denver’s Friendliest Lounge?” That’s what the sign says! We make no guarantees … but this Park Hill hole-in-the-wall is a favorite with locals who come from the adult atmosphere and the shake-your-butt R&B beats.


People stand in line to enter Herb's

Herb’s. Photo by Nicole Nichols Photography

2057 Larimer St., Denver

Musician-owned and operating since 1933, the club originally known as Herb’s Hideout was one of Jack Kerouac’s watering holes back when trendy and spendy LoDo was not much more than railyards and hobos. With live music every night and a calendar filled with jazz, funk, and R&B, Herb’s is a worthy spot for your musical enjoyment.

Et cetera, et cetera

The big venues bring in the big names — so you can catch upcoming shows such as Al Green at Red Rocks and Alicia Keyes at Ball Arena. Jazz station KUVO has a well-loved show, R&B Jukebox, that’s been airing every Saturday night from 6pm to 8pm for 25 years, and the dedicated R&B/hip hop station, 103.3 The Drop, is a great resource for listening locally.