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If the true art of jazz is improvisation, it makes sense that Little Tokyo's Blue Whale jazz club seems to pop up out of nowhere. The in-the-moment space atop Weller Court is a dim mix of modern lines and classic looks, much like the genre-mixing music that emerges nightly from the open stage. The eclectic audience queues up at the bar in the back, or slumps into one of the many padded benches that surround the impeccable performers. For those in need of satiation, the small kitchen churns out top-notch small plates Tuesday through Saturday, from an early tomato polenta to a series of pulled pork sliders. The house cocktails and small collection of local craft beers keep everyone tapping their feet to the sometimes bluesy tunes that emerge from the best jazz players in the country.

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    Best Jazz Club

    Blue Whale

    There are a number of nice jazz rooms in Los Angeles, but none as accessible and forward-thinking as the Blue Whale.

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