Jazz in Latvia is experiencing a renaissance and has become fashionable among the next generation, with the release of new contemporary jazz albums, and the presentation of regular concerts and jam sessions.

Latvian jazz was created a hundred years ago, when many swing bands were born in the days of the newly founded country, which created the sound of the city's nightlife.

Although the capital Riga does not boast of a wide range of dedicated jazz concert venues, concerts are held very regularly in venues across the city.

Festivals play a huge role in the development of jazz and there are two long-term festivals, whose beginnings can be traced back to the 1990s – Rīgas Ritmi Festival and Saulkrasti Jazz.

Rīgas Ritmi is a festival for improvisation, jazz and global music that takes place every summer in venues across the capital, while Saukrasti Jazz is an annual summer jazz festival that takes place in the wonderful seaside town of Saulkrasti.

Both festivals also develop the next-generation via master classes for students alongside the established stars of the festival. Another important platform is the international competition of jazz artists called Riga Jazz Stage, which welcome musicians from many countries to participate.

The development of new jazz is also fostered by the jazz label Jersika Records, which releases albums on high-quality vinyl, in addition, using analog recording on studio tapes – thereby underlining that jazz is also aimed at an audience capable of appreciating the nuances of music and art, and MMC Ieraksti. 

This young Latvian audience is attracted to young bands attract, so jazz has become stylish again, and therefore, has an obvious future in Latvia.

The development of jazz is also supported by the educational institutions, mass media and national cultural institutions, and an interest in Latvian jazz has arisen among both local and foreign audiences.

Guide compiled by EJN member Rīgas Ritmi