SanFrancisco has a rich Jazz history with numerous significant clubs and musiccenters all throughout the 49-square mile city of San Francisco from NorthBeach to the Tenderloins, and more distinctly, the Fillmore. This bustling andever-expanding Jazz scene throughout the district from just after the second worldwar, up until the mid-to-late-60’s, was as many critiques argue, highlyrepresentative and symbolic of the golden era of Modern Jazz, as well as thegolden era of the Fillmore district as the central gathering place of SanFrancisco’s Black community. San Francisco Jazz culture truly aims to followthe history of the diverse African American community, and its main goal isnone other than continue its progression (Harlem of the West, UCSC).BeforeWWII, modern jazz in the swing and bebop varieties was actually doing prettywell in popularity in the Central Avenue portion of LA, but SF was still mainlyfocused with Dixieland. Through the 1940s, daring new clubs were brought tolife in the Tenderloin and North Beach neighborhoods, offering new forms ofJazz to San Franciscans. They got to it voraciously. Time came the mid-1950s,various jazz night clubs were found all throughout the SF neighborhoods (Harlemof the West UCSC).
DrummerEarl Watkins reminisces that:It’slikely you have four clubs in a city block, one on each side of the road. Andyou bypass several more blocks and then you have another handful of clubs.You’d see the Club Alabam, that was one of your old set up jazz night clubs.
Itlater became club Sullivan. Next door was the brand new, New Orleans Swing club.That they had a type of girls within. The guys got excellent rings. On Fillmorebetween Sutter and Post, you’d Elsie’s Breakfast club. And later you’d HaroldBlackshear’s Cafe World.
Then down the stop was the club called The Favor. Nextdoor from that was the Havana club, and when you transpired the next stop,Fillmore between Post and Geary, you’d be at The Long Bar, which acquired EllaFitzgerald as one of their acts. (Watkins Malcom, Jazz Culture) Afteranother handful of blocks and you’d be at The Blue Mirror. Then across from theBlue Mirror, that they had the Ebony Plaza Hotel. Inside the basement, thatthey had a club. If you travelled up Fillmore to Ellis Block, you’d be at theBooker T.
Washington Hotel. And on the ground floor, in their lounge, that theyhad entertainment. The Fillmore, North Beach, the Tenderloin, the Waterfront. SanFrancisco was jumping to the challenge of forward jazz music. Duringthe early on 1950s, even the U.
S. participation in the Korean Conflict played atiny role in attracting musicians to SF. The Bay Area was home to, or went toby, many a musician in armed forces attire.
Normally as he could, John Handy wentback to SF from his Military base just south of his home, to perform andobserve before his redeployment to Korea. Chet Baker was a handsome white guy, withArmstrong trumpet capabilities, and a lot of energy. Over time, much of anearby community had hit rock bottom, and the SF Redevelopment Agency hadchosen it as a location looking for metropolitan renewal. In payment andreparations to the Japanese population that were displaced during WWII, a freshJapantown was built. This building led to the closing of allbusinesses that got occupied the old complexes and the dispersal of the familymembers who possessed dwelt there. Holidaymakers today will see a massivemultiplex theatre, apartment complexes, hotels, and numerous Japaneserestaurants dominating the region, with a loan company at the location whereBop City once stood.
Buchanan Road has been sealed to vehicular traffic, andthere is absolutely no such address as 1690 Post Road. TheBlack and African communities in America have been an integral part of SANFRANCISCO BAY AREA since prior to the Gold Hurry. The city’s Dark coloredpopulation found its best increase, however, during WWII. Hailing generallyfrom Louisiana and Texas, the newcomers have been recruited to work in Bay Areashipyards. Many resolved into homes in theAmerican Addition just lately vacated by San Franciscans of Japanese descentwho was simply forced, under Leader Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Professional Order9066, to relocate to internment camps.Asthe warfare progressed and removing so many Japanese people had occurred, theEuropean Addition became home to a large number of African-Americans whooriginated from the southern USA to work in SF’s shipyards with other wartimebusinesses.
The city’s existing but small Black colored inhabitants exploded.The vacant homes remaining in the Fillmore by interned Japanese residents hadfascinated African-American workers, music artists, and artists. It had beenalso at the moment that the Fillmore started out to build up a reputation to behome for some of the world’s best jazz music artists as well as a few of themost popular jazz clubs in SF. Overthe next 2 decades, a noticeable African American existence created itsplacement and standing in the Western Addition community around the FillmoreNeighborhood.
This included a captivating jazz and rhythm-and-blues nightclubworld that included such designers such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,Billie Holiday break, Matter Bassie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald. WhenJustin Herman had taken control of the SF Redevelopment Firm in 1959, however,he oversaw the destruction of a lot of the Fillmore and the constructiveeviction of Black residents from a nearby, bringing a finish to the Fillmorejazz time. Adam Baldwin’s 1963 documentary, “Take This Hammer,”addresses the fallout.