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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have vacation during the week of August 10-18.
We were hoping to go to NOLA, but with 5 of us and hoping to get a new sax for Amanda, that will not be possible.
So....besides L.A., what would the best city for Jazz clubs be?
I have heard S.F. is good, as is Seattle.
I read Portland being mentioned. KC would be a stretch for a road trip.
If you had a week to check out some great Jazz on the west where would you go?

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
18,952 Posts
I am shocked nobody replied to this, and as it's over 2 months old (!!!???) I'd imagine you already have planned a trip.

Nevertheless, I'll respond if for no other reason besides posterity sake.

...for headline Jazz SF is probably the best place of the three. Plus it's a beautiful city, lived there 21 years and raised my daughter there as a single dad.

(If that is where you are gonna end up, PM me and I can give you tips on some hidden gem things to do).

The 2 Yoshi's clubs (one in SF, one in Oakland) are the best venues and they are both all-ages venues...again, for headline acts. They always have someone worth seeing at one or the other location.

Locally, local acts...there are some good places. The Jazz School in Berkeley...

Madrone Bar in SF (Divisadero and Fell) has a great B3 group Sunday evenings, which becomes a jam session later into the night.

Boom Boom Room on Fillmore is a classic blues/funk place...very divey, always fun, though.

Rassella's, also on Fillmore and between Boom Boom and Yoshi's, has good local Jazz/Soul bands.

Cafe Claude is a nice French Bistro with good local music, oftentimes a Jazz Trio or quartet, again all-ages as it's a restaurant.

Last place I'd suggest just because it's usually fun, it's always all-ages, and it's NOT a place tourists The Ramp, in China Basin section of town.
This is the old shipping port section when SF was still a Maritime town (long gone from that, now).
Outdoors, good pub food and brunch, live music on the weekends. In the summer it's usually Salsa or Latin American bands. Cool hang overlooking a marina, the bay, and decrepit skeletal remains of old shipyards. Sunshine, Margaritas, Oysters and Fish & Chips, feeding the resident Pigeons, while watching happy folks dance to good Latin music. :| Crap...I don't miss SF all that much, but I admit I DO miss THAT place.

Portland (where I am now) has Jimmy Mak's in NE. If not quite an international headliner sorta place, like Yoshi's in SF/Oakland is only one shelf down.
Always good music, most of it local but very established.

Next place I'd suggest would be the Blue Monk (literally around the corner from my house) in SE. Oftentimes very good jazz there, and the basement vibe is actually kinda old-school Manhattan. Cool place.

Vie de Boheme also in SE has a good mix of music, almost every night. Basically a wine bar with snacks, very relaxed atmosphere.

Ivories, also on the West side, has a good line up of local talent, usually. The owner is a real d#ck, but that wouldn't matter to a customer. It's a pretty decent venue and they are really trying to make it a fixture in PDX.

Tapalaya is a Cajun restaurant in NE (since you didn't make it to the Big Easy). Great food, inexpensive, casual, and they have N'awlins-inspired Jazz there a few nights a week. A little hokey, yeah, but fun.....

Then there are just tons of other small venues/restaurants/cafes with Jazz seemingly all the time. Sapphire Hotel is another favorite place of mine, it's a restaurant not a Hotel ...just a very warm and unique atmosphere and always fun to people-watch.

Interesting thing about Portland and environs is, despite it having a population of less than half of the Bay Area (SF-Oak-Berk) has way, way, way (did I say 'way' ?) more music venues. Checking the weekly Jazz listings will always find you something.

, I love Seattle....but only have been there maybe 5 times so am probably not the best source on it.

587 Posts
Too bad you're not going at the end of the month...Detroit Jazz Festival is August 30 - September 02, and Northern & Western Michigan are great places to visit after you've had your fill of the festival.
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