Photo by Get Fokus'd Productions

The $2.95 million renovation and expansion of the Colored Musicians Club is poised to begin in 2022.

Under plans by Stieglitz Snyder Architecture and execution from Kanaka Construction Management, the expansion will add over 2,000 square feet of space to the existing building. The addition will provide a new handicapped accessible main entrance and an elevator along with a reception/lobby area.

The second floor will feature a prominently projecting glass walled rehearsal/flex space with two practice rooms and a lobby that connects to the existing building via an enclosed bridge. The existing building will continue to house the Museum on the first floor and the club/bar/stage on the second floor.

We appreciate any and all monetary donations to help us reach our 2022 fundraising goals for renovation projects and forthcoming events:


Become A Member

To continue the operation of the Colored Musicians Club, membership is important & helps us sustain the operation of the club & its programs. Whether you are an avid fan of jazz & its history, a musician, or you just like listening to music in an intimate setting, the CMC is the place to be. If you are interested in African-American History, Music History, or the history of Western New York, you can be part of a long tradition that’s unique to Buffalo. Different levels of membership are available for both individuals and companies; inquire below for more details.


The Colored Musicians Club is the only continuously running, all-Black owned club in the United States.

Designated as a historical landmark and a historical preservation site, its history is one of triumph over adversity, pride in African American heritage, excellence in performance, and inclusiveness.

Musicians’ Local 533 formed in 1917 during a time when African Americans were not permitted to join the White union. The following year, members formed a social club, which was chartered in 1935. Any Black musicians who wanted to perform in the area had to pay a fee to the union, whose offices were located on the first floor of the club. Local 533 was the most fiscally responsible, socially progressive Black union in the country. Union President Raymond Jackson’s stellar managerial skills took him across America as a consultant to other Black Musicians Unions.

The club incorporated in 1935, utilizing the second floor for performances, practice, and rehearsals. World renowned musicians like Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, and Count Basie mingled with the audience. Here color was not an issue…jazz was.

In 1969, after passage of the Civil Rights Act, Local 533 was ordered to merge with the White union. But the newly integrated union favored its White members. Fortunately, the Colored Musicians Club was a separate entity from Local 533, so it offered Black artists performance opportunities. It became a place for musicians of all colors to gather after their gigs to jam. Here hope triumphed over hate. Inclusivity and diversity reigned. The CMC brought people of all races together and inspired a new generation of musicians.

The club’s museum, designed by Hadley Exhibits in 2018, provides an interactive experience for visitors of all ages. A multimedia archive tells the story of jazz legends who performed there. Teenagers mix their own music. With the press of a button, young aspiring artists make a musical instrument play.

If its walls could talk, the Colored Musicians Club would speak of the power of jazz to bring all races together, the determination to overcome adversity, and the invaluable contributions of African Americans to our culture—especially in Buffalo, New York.

Introducing… The Club

The Colored Musicians Club is dedicated to the history of jazz in Buffalo, jazz preservation, education, and music instruction for our community.

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The 18th Annual Queen City Jazz Fest

The Museum

While our Club is closed for renovations, the Museum portion of the Colored Musicians Club will be open starting June 2, 2022.

Tours of our Museum will be available Thursday through Saturday from 11 to 4 PM throughout the summer.

Contact us for more information and to book at (716) 855-9383.