It’s difficult sometimes to accurately gauge the health of the Bay Area jazz scene.
On the one hand, a leading presenter (read: Yoshi’s) continues to de-emphasize jazz among its offerings. On the other, there seems to be ever more independent venues presenting this music.
A case in point is Cosmo’s Jazz Spot, 4609 Shattuck Ave., Oakland. You won’t find all the trappings of a major jazz club here but, then, that’s not part of the venue’s philosophy, its website tells visitors.
Cosmo’s Jazz Spot provides an intimate environment for musicians to rehearse, attend or lead workshops, and perform to a live participating audience. Cosmo’s is also a community-oriented organization aimed at providing activities of all kinds for the community, a meeting place and learning place for creative and critical thinkers. Poetry readings, dance demonstrations and a meeting place for book clubs.
Cosmo’s schedule reveals weekend nights of jazz – last Friday saw Terrence Brewer and Dave Bell Quartet while Saturday belonged to the Muziki Roberson Quartet. Next up is an 8 p.m. Friday show featuring Danny Caron and Good Hands with Caron (guitar), Wayne De La Cruz (Hammond B3) and Kent Bryson (drums). There is a suggested donation of $10–$15.
Let me also call your attention to the Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. Jazz is just one of its many offerings.
The Subterranean Arthouse is an interdisciplinary community art space that offers diverse opportunities for local, national and international artists to teach, create and present their art form. Through weekly classes, performances, film showings and visual art exhibitions, we encourage dialogue between disciplines, between artists. We inspire a sustained curiosity about life through the practice of art. The Subterranean Arthouse is rooted in a tradition of experimentation unique to the Bay Area as it extends its branches to the terrain of other art communities.
The venue hosts jazz-rooted music this evening in the double bill of the Tiptons Sax Quartet and Real Vocal String Quartet.
The former – Amy Denio (alto sax, clarinet, voice), Jessica Lurie (alto and tenor sax, voice), Sue Orfield (tenor sax, voice), Tina Richerson (baritone sax, voice) and Robert Kainar (drums) – are based in New York and Seattle and incorporate various world musics their approach. The latter – Irene Sazer (violin, voice), Alisa Rose (violin, voice), Dina Maccabee (viola, voice) and Jessica Ivry (cello, voice) – play “original songs and unique arrangements that pay tribute to music from Appalachia to Kenya to Brazil, incorporating sparkling improvisation that impresses and moves.”
Admission is $15-$30.
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