Northern Californians can be forgiven for not fully grasping the dimensions of Half Moon Bay’s thriving jazz scene.
You can blame that to a certain degree on the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. The organization has been presenting top-flight performers so regularly for so long (1964) that it not only overshadows other coastal peninsula venues but it many ways defines for jazz fans that part of Northern California.
That said, the larger reality is that the Bach D and D Soc has done a lot to establish Half Moon Bay as a Bay Area jazz destination. For evidence, look no further than the week ahead’s offerings which, by coincidence, do not include a Bach D and D Soc show. (The series returns September 8 with the young and impressive trumpeter Grace Kelly.)
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is, suffice it to say, one of the region’s most posh hotels. My wife and her cronies congregate there each December for a full day of spa treatments, wine tasting and gourmet dining. The Conservatory Lounge each Thursday hosts Burgers, Beers and Jazz, which features … well, you can figure that out. The music comes courtesy of area performers. The Ritz-Carlton also books jazz on weekends; you can catch the Michael O'Neill-Peter Horvath Duo on Saturday night.
The aptly named Pasta Moon also features plenty of jazz at is Music Box venue. Drop by September 5 to hear Erik Deutsch and Jon Gray. Pianist-composer Deutsch works with the likes of Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash and Charlie Hunter when not fronting his own group. He and Gray will be joined by vocalist Victoria Reed. No cover charge, by the way.
Sam’s Chowder House offers authentic New England style chowder, stunning bay views and music in its indoor and outdoor bars. The lineup this weekend features on Friday night the urban jazz of guitarist Brandon Robinson's Good Vibes Trio with Dave Spears (vibes) and Paul Eastburn. Then look for the blues band Bumpy Road (Saturday) and Kay Kostopoulos and Black Olive Jazz (Sunday).
Also check out Cetrella, which The Chronicle has hailed as “an invaluable venue for Northern California jazz and blues singers.”
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