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Jazz nights are back at The Blue Room

Downtown's all-ages venue collaborates with WWU to bring live jazz to the city

The Blue Room showcasing its “blue” ambiance through the windows in Bellingham, Wash., on Oct. 30, 2023. The venue hosts different groups and artists each week that cater to different music tastes. // Photo courtesy of Marijn Wall

The Blue Room collaborates with the jazz department at Western Washington University each month to bring live jazz music to downtown Bellingham. 

Martijn Wall, owner of The Blue Room, wanted to bring something new to the city and introduce more people to jazz music.

“For jazz nights, it was always just a really laid back atmosphere,” Wall said. “It's a great place to come in and get some work done, like studying or something like that. A great place to find if you're just looking to decompress after a day at work.”

Jazz nights have been ongoing since The Blue Room opened in March 2022. 

Wall, an alumnus of Western, was a student in the music department and had a working relationship with Kevin Woods, director of jazz studies. This helped shape the foundation of jazz nights at The Blue Room.

“Woods has been a huge supporter of ours,” Wall said. “He's really been instrumental, no pun intended, and helped in putting everything together.”

Woods recently started his ninth year teaching in Western’s jazz department and said he was thrilled to work with Wall to showcase his students' work. 

“It's been nice to have a place for my more experienced students to perform off campus more often,” Woods said. “It's allowed me to create a performing environment with expectations closer to the real, professional world.”


Western Washington University jazz students perform on March 1, 2023 at The Blue Room in Bellingham, Wash. Kevin Woods, seen in front, orchestrates a musical pulse so that all the performers can follow a similar rhythm. // Photo courtesy of Kevin Woods

Bellingham doesn’t have any designated jazz venues, so The Blue Room is seeking to add this smooth and vibrant sound to the music scene. 

“Any weekly or monthly jazz event gives people in the community a chance to hear groups develop and grow, which is important for the groups and really fun and engaging for the listeners,” Woods said.

The event remains affordable for students and members of the community, with each ticket ranging from $5-10. Tickets for the next event, Thursday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m., can be found here. The Blue Room is located at 202 E. Holly St. 

“We just want to continue to stay true to our original mission and provide as much opportunity and experience to performers and musicians in the area,” Wall said. “By trying to uplift the performing arts scene as much as we can in Bellingham by being open and inclusive.”

Evan Riley

Evan Riley (he/him) is a city news reporter for The Front this quarter. He is a third-year student at Western working towards his major in News/Editorial journalism. He has dreams of becoming a travel writer and is continually thinking about where he'll go next. 

You can reach him at

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