San Francisco Jazz Clubs (1939 - 1962)
By Hal Smith
Burp Hollow, 473 Broadway
Dick Oxtot, Bob Mielke, Original Inferior Jazz Band, late ‘50s to mid ‘60s.
C.I.O. Hall, 150 Golden Gate Avenue
Concerts by Bunk Johnson with members of the Yerba Buena Jazz Band, 1944. The Green Room, where Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band performed in 1947, was also located at this address.
Club Hangover, 729 Bush Street
Jack Sheedy’s Dixieland Jazz Band was the first regular band to perform at the club, in 1949. Later, touring bands such as Muggsy Spanier’s and Jack Teagarden’s alternated with bands led by Kid Ory and Earl Hines in residency from 1951 - 1961.
Dawn Club, 20 Annie Street
Originally featured a variety of jazz and swing groups, but engaged Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band on a regular basis in 1941. Offered live traditional jazz until late 1942. Watters’ band returned in March, 1946 and closed on New Year’s Day, 1947.
Earthquake McGoon’s, 630 Clay Street
The most famous of all the clubs owned and operated by Turk Murphy, with his ensemble as the house band from 1962 - 1978.
Easy Street, 2215 Powell Street
Turk Murphy’s was the house band in the late ‘50s. Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Louis Jordan performed here when the Murphy band was on tour. Ralph Sutton was the intermission pianist, 1958 - 1959.
Italian Village, 901 Columbus Avenue
Charles Campbell was the mover and shaker behind Turk Murphy’s residency at this club, following a successful concert on Jan. 6, 1952. Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band, the Firehouse Five Plus Two, the El Dorado Jazz Band (Northern California edition), and the Canal Street Jazz Band (later Bay City Jazz Band) also performed here in the 1950s.
Kewpie Doll, Columbus at Broadway
Chicago trumpeter Marty Marsala led the band, which included a number of Bay Area jazzmen, late 1950s and early 1960s.
Pier 23, The Embarcadero
Pianist Burt Bales and later Bill Erickson provided the music, though the bandstand was usually crowded with musicians sitting in during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Sail’N, 99 Broadway
The Canal Street Jazz Band, which became the Bay City Jazz Band, performed here. The building was purchased by Turk Murphy and Pete Clute in 1960 and was home to the Turk Murphy Jazz Band until the move to 630 Clay Street.
Tin Angel, 981 Embarcadero
Bands led by Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey, Kid Ory, George Lewis, Lizzie Miles, Wally Rose, Bob Hodes, Bob Mielke, and others performed here before the club was sold to Kid Ory in 1958. Ory renamed the club On The Levee and led the house band. The address was changed to number 987 under Ory’s ownership. Muggsy Spanier and Joe Sullivan also led bands at the club until Ory sold it in 1961.
East Bay Jazz Clubs (1939 -1961)
Big Bear Tavern, 7300 Redwood Road, Oakland
The laboratory for the fledgling Yerba Buena Jazz Band. Lu Watters, Bob Scobey, Turk Murphy, Bob Helm, Ellis Horne, Wally Rose, Clancy Hayes, Bill Dart and others participated in after-hours sessions devoted to learning the classic jazz repertoire, 1939 – 1940. In 1943, Bunk Johnson played a memorable session here with the Yerba Buena musicians, where the long arms of the segregated Musicians’ Union could not reach.
Cooks’ Union Hall, 1608 Webster St., Oakland
Concerts presented by the East Bay Jazz Society featuring Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey and other former Yerba Buena musicians, in a variety of combinations, were held here circa 1949 – 1950.
El Rancho Grande, (address unknown, Lafayette)
Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band, Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band, and Earl Hines and his All-Stars performed here in the early-to-mid 1950s.
Hambone Kelly’s, 204 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito
Home of Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band from June, 1947 to New Year’s Day, 1951.
Jenny Lind Hall, 2229 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
Concerts presented by the East Bay Jazz Society featuring Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey and other former Yerba Buena musicians, in a variety of combinations, were held here in 1950. Bob Scobey also recorded sessions for Jazz Man and Good Time Jazz in this cavernous dance hall, 1950 – 1956.
Lark’s Club,3076 Sacramento Street, Oakland
The Superior Stompers and Bob Mielke’s Bearcats performed here in the mid-1950s.
Melody Club, 3614 Foothill Blvd., Oakland
Pat Patton’s Frisco Jazz Band played here in the mid-1940s. Bob Scobey’s Alexander’s Jazz Band performed at the club in the very early 1950s.
Monkey Inn, 3605 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
Dick Oxtot, Bill Erickson, Earl Scheelar, Barbara Dane, and the Great Pacific Jazz Band played in this 'beer and peanuts' establishment in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Pioneer Village, 3614 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette (also a second club in San Leandro, address unknown)
Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band with Clancy Hayes, Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band, and Bob Mielke’s Bearcats played at the Lafayette location. Mielke’s group also appeared at the San Leandro club.
Sweets Ballroom, 1933 Broadway, Oakland
Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington were some of the name orchestras which appeared at Sweets. Lu Watters led a large orchestra here in 1938 – 39 which featured many hot jazz classics as well as a ‘band-within-a-band’ similar to Bob Crosby’s Bob Cats.
Victor's & Roxie’s, 551 E. 12th St., Oakland
Bob Scobey’s Alexander’s Jazz Band and Burt Bales’ Jazz Band performed at this club from 1950 – 51.
Jazz Clubs in the San Francisco Suburbs
Greenwich Village, Palo Alto
Bob Scobey’s Alexander’s Jazz Band; Turk Murphy, early 1950s.
Kerosene Club, San Jose
El Dorado Jazz Band, Northern California edition, mid-1950s.
Pete’s Chicago Club, Sunnyvale
El Dorado Jazz Band (Northern California edition), 1960.
BROWSE—Streaming Audio & Images from the Collection