San Francisco’s longest running neighborhood jazz party every friday evening since oct. 2002 always 5:30 to 8:00 pm $10 per adult suggested donation kids welcome & free! no one turned away for lack of funds
The cornerstone of the Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project’s offerings at Bird & Beckett is this weekly series of jazz dates. The neighborhood really turns out to revel in the music and the company, and it’s done so ever since tenor player Chuck Peterson got the series going nearly nine years ago. Well over 450 Fridays have elapsed, with never a missed beat. Come hear what it’s all about. Jazz in a bebop / straight-ahead mode by some consummate long-time professionals and many of the best of the Young Turks on the local scene… Your donations at the shows make up the lion’s share of what we use to pay the performers each week, augmented as necessary from our general fund raised through the direct annual contributions to the nonprofit by “people like you.”
First Friday of each month – Don Prell’s Seabop Ensemble — bassist Prell is a veteran of the 1950s LA-based Bud Shank Quartet and 30 years with the San Francisco Symphony. He’s a fiercely avid jazz player, willing to play anywhere and any time and has been a key to keeping our weekly jazz series going these many years.
Each month, Don assembles a terrific combo from a repertory company of great players, which on any give session might include Jim Grantham or Jerry Logas on reeds; guitarists like Scott Foster, Ray Scott and Bob Brumbeloe; pianists Michael Parsons and Don Alberts; drummers Chris Bjorkbom, Omar Aran and Glen Iwaoka.
Second Friday of each month – The Jimmy Ryan Quintet — drummer Ryan learned the trade in L.A. in the ’50s as well, and hit the San Francisco scene in 1960 — and never looked back. Jimmy has played with legendary musicians like Putter Smith, Vince Wallace, Kent Glenn and Bishop Norman Willliams, putting in significant time at legendary San Francisco clubs like Jimbo’s Bop City and the Gathering Cafe.
For his Bird & Beckett dates, trumpeter Henry Hung and trombonist Danny Grewen, two active young players on the local scene, give a rich, fiery and romantic tone to the front line, while guitarist Scott Foster, a Bird & Beckett favorite since the beginning, handles the chordal duties and spins out beautiful lines with aplomb, and bassist Bishu Chatterjee lays down a reliably steady and creative bass line.
Third Friday of each month – Peterson/Prell/Foster/Marabuto — This band is made up of three of the original founders of our jazz in the bookshop series plus a new addition… Chuck Peterson, tenor sax, was actually the one who got it all going, back in late 2002, when he told us he’d make sure we always had good musicians if we’d just guarantee them a venue — and he’s more than kept his word. He’s a veteran of the 1950s San Francisco scene and the 1960s live tv bands (remember Don Sherwood? and did you know Tennessee Ernie Ford used a live jazz combo in his local tv show here as well?). Chuck’s career continued with decades in the pit orchestras of the San Francisco theatre district and playing bari sax in the Rudy Salvini Big Band… now he travels down as often as he can from his digs in Santa Rosa to keep the jazz flame burning at Bird & Beckett. Scott Foster, guitar, plays with a fluidity and grace that brings the classic Blue Note era guitarists immediately to mind; he too has been on these dates since the beginning and is at the core of the jazz sound we like best. You can follow him up to North Beach most Friday nights after the gig here and catch him at Rose Pistola. As for Don Prell, bass, we already filled you in on a bit of his background above in describing his Seabop affiliation. Suffice to say, we couldn’t claim our unbroken string of Friday jazz sessions without his crazy enthusiasm for the music and for playing at every possible chance, and his creativity is unbounded. Ron Marabuto, drums, son of the key local pianist John Marabuto, anchors the group with the unquestionable skill derived from decades of work with the top straight-ahead and latin jazz professionals on both coasts.
Fourth Fridays — The 230 Jones Street, Local 6 Literary Jazz Band — aka The Chuck Peterson Quintet, with vocalist Dorothy Lefkovits. Chuck finishes out the month’s schedule of Fridays with four long-time associates who have been at the top of the jazz scene locally and nationally for six decades. Reed player Howard Dudune plays with the easy grace of Lester Young and a swinging humor all his own, while guitarist Glen Deardorff drives the rhythm with a fierce insouciance. Bassist Dean Reilly, one of the most respected elder statesmen of the local jazz scene and a well traveled pro, looks , acts and plays like a youngster with his first ducktail. And drummer Tony Johnson, still sporting the Aussie accent of his own youth, swings effortlessly and keeps time with unerring precision. All in all, a wonderful band — especially when you factor in the singer Dorothy Lefkovits who joins the band for a few tunes on each set. When just a teen, she graced the stage at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and she’s still charming audiences with ease.