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Jazz is alive and well at Sandaga Market

Proprietor Darryl Thomas outside the Sandaga Market on Levee Street
Proprietor Darryl Thomas outside the Sandaga Market on Levee Street
Walter Brookins

Believe it or not, Dallas has a handful of artistically driven places where you can "hear" a real live straight ahead jazz performance on a regular basis.  There are many styles of jazz  and everyone's taste is different.  Sandaga Jazz on Levee Street should give you a good reason to go out exploring jazz music in Dallas. 

Sandaga is named for a market in Senegal.  Proprietor Darryl Thomas  began Sandaga Market, an African art business and gallery 19 years ago.  Born in the warehouse district off industrial, the Sandaga Market building is home for two other artistic offshoots.  Fueled by his passion for jazz, Darryl Thomas developed Sandaga Jazz for live performances and Sandaga Youthful Jazz (a mentoring program) which is a  501(c-3) non-profit organization. 

When you go up the steps and enter the building you might wonder, where am I?  You'll  find yourself transported in time to what the old basement style jazz clubs of the 30's and 40's must have felt like.  It is void of frills,not fancy but welcoming with an energy all its own!  A small cover charge donation at the door helps to fund this amazing place where one can experience jazz of all types at its finest.

This hidden gem of a jazz spot has been the after hours host to the likes of Wynton Marsallis and other musicians as they passed through Dallas.  Tuesday nights Sandaga is the home of a weekly open jam session for instrumentalists and vocalists.  Thursday nights is all about the blues with an open mic and show with  blues diva and host Andrea Dawson.  One Sunday a month features Shelly Carrol's Youthful Jazz Orchestra and on an alternate Sunday is the Brad Leali / Shelley Carrol big band with vocalist Sandra Kaye.

Every week on Wednesdays or Fridays Sandaga features hot jazz vocalists, quartets, quintets, trios and more. The Sandaga Jazz performance calendar changes each month with new exciting and invigorating musical offerings.  More details can be found on the website www.sandagajazz.com

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