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San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley: Jazz

San Francisco may not be the first major American city that comes to mind when we think of jazz – New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City and, undoubtedly, New York all enjoy that easy association – but the city has been a vital, if overlooked, host since the first jazz musicians began to swing. From the Barbary Coast nightclubs at the turn of the last century to the city’s golden era, when Miles Davis and Cal Tjader played at places like The Blackhawk, San Francisco’s jazz roots run deep.

Those roots continue to feed a vibrant, diverse musical community of locally based musicians and visiting artists. The four-month long San Francisco Jazz Festival brings jazz masters and upcoming starts from all over the world to the Bay Area every Fall. The SF Jazz Collective, a touring group of extraordinary jazz artists established by SFJAZZ (who also organize the Festival), periodically return to their home base to give performances and contribute to the community through education initiatives. And of course there is Yoshi’s – the preeminent West Coast jazz club for many decades, now operating in Oakland (the original) and San Francisco (since 2007). (Jeffery McMillan)

San Francisco Jazz: Jazz Around San Francisco

Below are our San Francisco Jazz recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, venue history and other points of interest in San Francisco Art.
 

Amnesia

Amnesia

Amnesia is one of San Francisco’s most inclusive and eclectic venues for live music. A diversity of styles is represented on the music calendar, with each weeknight devoted to a particular genre. Monday is bluegrass night, and features rotating ensembles every week. On Tuesdays, Amnesia hosts an open mic for musicians of all stripes. Wednesdays feature rotating gypsy jazz ensembles, followed by an open jazz session. Weekends feature widely differing …more…

Ana Mandara

Ana Mandara

The name ‘Ana Mandara’ (in Vietnamese, ‘beautiful refuge’) is a reference to the ancient Vietnamese fable of a warrior and a princess whose forbidden romance led them to seek refuge in the bountiful southern islands of Vietnam. The menu at Ana Mandara was conceived by renowned chef Khai Duong, combining traditional Vietnamese cuisine with classic French techniques. Live jazz has long been a part of the offering at Ana …more…

B Street and Vine

B Street and Vine

Just south of South San Francisco is B Street and Vine, a wine and food bistro located in San Mateo that features an active schedule of live music. Five nights a week, musical acts perform at B Street and Vine; live music is mostly in a jazz vein, but on Fridays includes a variety of popular songs from all decades. The musicians here are all Bay Area locals, and each …more…

Bocce Café

Bocce Café

Located in the middle of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, Bocce Café is an Italian restaurant with a rustic feel. The cuisine is strictly traditional Italian, with a special menu that rotates weekly. Music is performed on the weekends; Fridays and Saturdays feature a variety of jazz ensembles that rotate weekly. The music is geared to the dinner crowd; audience …more…

Dogpatch Saloon

Dogpatch Saloon

The Dogpatch Saloon is located right on the Central Waterfront in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. A recent addition to the neighborhood, it has quickly become a favorite local dive. Live music is featured several nights a week including a Sunday afternoon jazz jam. The Dogpatch always features local musicians, with regular groups playing every week. In addition to the …more…

Fillmore Jazz Festival

Fillmore Jazz Festival

(July) Every July 4th weekend, Fillmore Street in San Francisco is home to the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast. The Filmore Jazz Festival showcases the Bay Area’s best talent, from up-and-coming jazz fusion and Latin jazz, to seasoned crooners belting out the greatest jazz standards. On three stages over two days, over 30 acts entertain tens of thousands of jazz lovers who flock to the historic area …more…

John’s Grill

John’s Grill

Open since 1908, John’s Grill is a landmark in San Francisco’s history. It was a setting in (and inspiration for) Dashiell Hammett’s famed novel ‘The Maltese Falcon’, and has been a destination for thousands over its many decades of existence. The walls are covered with memorabilia from San Francisco’s history, and its own, boasting many photographs of famed customers who …more…

Le Colonial

Le Colonial

Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, Le Colonial boasts an atmosphere reminiscent of early 20th century French Vietnam. The cuisine is Southeast Asian, with a wine list tailored to complement the menu. Ingredients are fresh, sourced from local farmers and purveyors. The music calendar compliments the throwback feel of Le Colonial, including 30’s style swing and gypsy jazz. …more…

Rasselas Jazz Club

Rasselas Jazz Club

Head out the door of The Fillmore and across the street and you’ll find that perfect spot for a little post-concert Ethiopian food accompanied by fantastic jazz, Latin or funk music. Open seven nights-a-week, Rasselas has just the right balance of exotic cuisine, excellent atmosphere and a stellar lineup. Check their calendar for who’s manning each night of the week …more…

Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko

Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko

A beautiful room, world-class sound design and some of the finest jazz and cabaret performers to be found… in San Francisco. A rare find indeed. The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko is all of the above and more. Anyone from Spyro Gyra, Neil Sedaka and Mary Wilson to Broadway and Hollywood favorites like Tyne Daly and Cloris Leachman may be up …more…

San Francisco Jazz (SFJAZZ)

San Francisco Jazz (SFJAZZ)

The SFJAZZ organization is today one of the world’s foremost champions of jazz music on a number of levels, supporting its creation, promotion, presentation and education.  The organization began in 1983 as Jazz in the City, presenting a seasonal series of jazz concerts at various San Francisco venues.  Its name was changed to SFJAZZ in 1999 as it expanded its …more…

sfjazz

San Francisco Jazz Festival

Under the umbrella of the SF Jazz organization, which produces jazz events throughout the Bay Area year-round, the San Francisco Jazz Festival has become one of the largest and most reputable jazz festivals in the world. It began in 1983 as a small local festival predominantly featuring local acts, but over the past three decades it has grown to be a magnet for the world’s most reputable jazz artists. The …more…

Savanna Jazz

Savanna Jazz

Savanna Jazz presents live jazz Wednesday through Sunday with everything from sultry songbook singers to big bands and Latin jazz ensembles. Wednesday nights feature a Swing band with Swing Dance instruction available. The cover charges are very reasonable ($5-10) and the cuisine is an interesting blend of French, Caribbean and West African dishes. The club’s dedication to jazz’s storied …more…

Yoshi’s

Yoshi’s, San Francisco and Yoshi’s, Oakland

Yoshi’s Oakland and Yoshi’s San Francisco are two of the premier jazz clubs on the West Coast, boasting some of the most sophisticated acoustics to be found and a stellar lineup of contemporary jazz and pop.

The Oakland location began in 1973 in North Berkeley as a sushi bar that soon expanded into a world-class restaurant and jazz club that has …more…