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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jammin' Cats

Russians love jam -- especially the musical sort. Every Friday and Sunday the Jazz Art Cafe has a jam session, where they invite the best of Moscow's jazz musicians to come and play whatever comes into their head at the time.

The place is pretty cool too. Opened three years ago in an old cinema, the sloping floor with sofas on stages can be a bit confusing, and there is the standard struggling young painter's work on the walls -- some of it very good.

But the strangest thing is the cats. No really, there are real ones, not just "hep jazz cats." They live in the building and seem totally unfazed by the crowded room, or wailing sax, piano and guitar combination on stage. They wander in among the punters and love to be tickled. This of course, adds to the fun, as if you get bored with your date you can tease the cat with your tie.

It is a really Russian place. The crowd is a mix of young artist types, into the music, and a few big Red Director types trying to hit on their secretaries, who have been foolish enough to agree to a date with the big boss.

But the best part about the club is the music. Even if you're not into jazz it is worth a visit, if only because the artists play with that passion that so often marks Russian creative activities. Last Friday the line-up included six saxophonists, two piano players, a French horn, a double bass and a drummer, who played a sort of "tag-team" set in which they would come out in turns and play solos or duets, until one of the men on the sideline gave them the nod and they made way for the next person. A frothy, innovative sound, it was entertaining and got your feet tapping -- and this is from a person who normally hates jazz (but loves cats). But most of all you can't help being impressed by the sheer musical skill of the players. This Friday night Transatlantic, a well-known Russian jazz band, are playing.

Saturday: Transatlantic plays from 7:30 to about 10 p.m., afterward jam sessions until 2 a.m. Cover 50,000 rubles, half price for students.

Sunday: Jam session from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Cover 15,000 rubles, half price for students.