A profound dichotomy – one is tempted to call it a contradiction – lies at the heart of the Northern California jazz scene.
On the one hand, the music struggles to find an audience. Jazz venues like Yoshi’s (out of necessity, one assumes) long ago watered down their offerings to include every genre under the sun. Major festivals face economic straits and some disappear entirely. The number of performing organizations capable of presenting jazz’s biggest names shrinks each year.
On the other, there is no shortage of opportunities to hear the best regional talent. Every city from Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa seems to have a club or three where jazz still plays. There is in addition a number of grassroots organizations dedicated to presenting jazz whenever and wherever possible.
The San Francisco-based Jazz in the Neighborhood is just such an entity.
Jazz in the Neighborhood was created by musicians to bring talented artists, developing players and communities together for live music events. Our programs provide jazz education, support local venues and enable dedicated professionals to pass a vital legacy on to the next generation.
With the help of our advisory panel, we are building a roster of talented Bay Area jazz instrumentalists and singers who also serve as mentors. We work with local school band directors and teachers to match these musicians with educational programs that inspire young players.
These professional artists, students, members of the Jazz in the Neighborhood Big Band and others collaborate in live performances at our partner venues in local neighborhoods. We raise money under the nonprofit sponsorship of Intersection for the Arts.
Jazz in the Neighborhood presents shows venues ranging from galleries and storefronts to ballrooms and private homes. It’s also forged an alliance the Sleeping Lady in Fairfax, the Emerald Tablet in San Francisco, Lamorinda Music Store in Lafayette, and Piedmont Piano Co. in Oakland. The organization has a flurry of shows on its current schedule, Erik Jekabson tonight at Piedmont Piano. Kellye Gray (above) performs Saturday and Clairdee on November 2 at the Emerald Tablet.
Jazz in the Neighborhood’s mission is to “vitalize neighborhood venues with live music, creating a space for people of all ages to gather and both listen to and participate in concerts together.” Northern California jazz fans have an excellent opportunity this weekend to support those efforts.
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