The San Francisco Recovery Theatre is a local group, based in the Tenderloin, that supports recovery through musical expression, performance, and supportive solidarity. I first wrote about them last October, when the group’s leader, Geoffrey Grier, revived his abbreviated adaptation of George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess to take on a tour of the Tenderloin. That tour began with a performance in the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel, arranged under the auspices of the Concerts at the Cadillac series.
At the end of this week, Grier will bring his troupe back to the Cadillac, this time for a jazz concert entitled Legends of the Black Hawk. Before it closed in 1963, the Black Hawk, located in the Tenderloin at the corner of Turk Street and Hyde Street, was one of the most important venues for jazz in San Francisco. Black Hawk gigs by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Ahmad Jamal (among others) were recorded for commercial release; and they are but a fraction (even if a representative one) of the management’s talent for booking some of the most adventurous jazz artists of the Fifties.
The program Grier has prepared will feature guitar work by Eddie Duran and saxophone solos by Madeline Duran. Vocals will be provided by Benn Bacot, Pam Coates, and Eric Ward. Rick Brown will join the group on trombone; and the rhythm section will consist of Dave Austin on piano, Chuck Bennett on bass, and Bob Blankenship on drums.
Like other performances in this series, this will be a one-hour concert, given in the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel (380 Eddy Street at the corner of Leavenworth Street, a three-block walk from where the Black Hawk used to be). It will take place on Friday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m. Austin will play the hotel’s meticulously restored 1884 Steinway Model D concert grand. With the partial funding from the North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District, this event is offered free of charge by the hotel as a gift to the people of the Tenderloin. The Cadillac calls itself “The House of Welcome Since 1907;” and all are definitely welcome to this free jazz opportunity.