Ben Stolorow, piano
Peter Barshay, bass
Vince Lateano, drums
with guest vocalist Ernest East
$20 cover charge; byob
Ernest East, a native San Franciscan, a graduate of Polytechnic High, and a long-time gem of the local jazz scene (also the founder of Miz Lynn’s Pies) is a swingin’ jazz vocalist with five decades’ experience on the local scene. If you’re a veteran of the jam sessions that Vince Lateano led at the Dogpatch Saloon back in the day, the one that became the Doghouse Jam at the Seven Mile House (and that continues to this day on the last Sunday of each month at Bird & Beckett), you’ll remember Ernest.
At the end of last month, Ernest made it down to Bird & Beckett to join the trio for a tune or two at the end of each set, reconnecting with Vince after a few decades — bringing back the days of the Dogpatch jam sessions that were happening back at the turn of the century! Read about that scene here: Stompin’ at the Dogpatch, by Evan Karp – SF Chronicle 1/4/04
And to refresh your memory of Ernest’s sublime style, check out the video from last month’s jam session, where he joins the festivities at about the 1:28:00 mark for a couple of tunes. Doggone Jam Session at Bird & Beckett 1/28/24 hosted by the Vince Lateano Trio
Thinking about Vince Lateano, here are some bits and pieces we’ve gleaned of his story, although the mid-’60s to mid-’80s have yet to be brought into focus for this chronicler… exciting prospect, that!
Vince’s 1990-2003 run working three nights a week as house drummer at Jazz at Pearl’s, the key San Francisco jazz club on Columbus at Broadway in North Beach from its opening in 1990 until its closure in 2008, cemented his position in the eyes of the casual observer at the center of the San Francisco jazz world. Among the musicians, there hadn’t been any doubt from the beginning.
Pearl’s was the successor to the historic cluster of North Beach jazz clubs of the 1950s and 1960s that included the Black Cat, Hungry I, Purple Onion, Jazz Workshop, Sugar Hill and El Matador plus Keystone Korner, which ran from 1972 to 1983. Jazz at Pearl’s opened on Columbus opposite City Lights in 1990, but it started in 1984 as an after-hours room beneath the Great Eastern Restaurant on Washington Street in adjacent Chinatown. Vince was a regular there, as were many of the City’s key jazz players, notably including guitarist Eddie Duran, who gave drummer Sylvia Cuenca her first professional gig.
At the street-level Pearl’s, owner Pearl Wong and impresario Sonny Buxton crafted a tiny but world class club that kept the jazz flowing and fixed the attention of fans and tourists alike on North Beach as a magnet for the best regional players playing on par with nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians.
Pearl closed her club in 2003, ‘though it acquired a vibrant second life when vocalist Kim Nalley took it on for five years. Vince gigged around, but the spot where he could easily be found was a jam session that he started at the Dogpatch Saloon out on Third Street. The Dogpatch Jam ran for ten years until the bar closed, then moved down to the 7 Mile House on Bayshore at Geneva and ran for another seven before the pandemic closed it down. Now, Vince keeps the tradition going at Bird & Beckett on the last Sunday of each month, with Peter Barshay on bass and Ben Stolorow on piano. The trio plays sans jam on the third Sundays, so that we get to hear Vince play at length.
Outside of the subterranean Doc’s Lab on Columbus from 2014-2018 (which was notable for its fantastic and ongoing composers’ big band now known as the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra), North Beach seems to have had no jazz club to speak of since Pearl’s until the opening of Keys Jazz Bistro on Broadway in the old El Matador space in late 2022. Now, at last, with jazz at le Petit Paris 75 across the street from Keys and poetry at Golden Sardine around the corner, a resurgence is happening. Of course, jazz and its precursors in San Francisco have a storied history that long predates the era we’ve been talking about, from the Barbary Coast dance halls of the late 1800s though the “Harlem of the West” years of the late ’40s Fillmore District, and there have been important spots scattered all over, from Butchertown to the Tenderloin to the Marina and all ’round the town all along where jazz enriches the barroom clatter of hot spots like Dizzy’s out on Geary, the Club Deluxe at Haight and Ashbury (both gone), Rasellas, Madrone Art Bar, Mr. Tipples, Bisap Baobab, Geelou, countless others — legendary sewers like the Black Hawk, elegant halls like Yoshi’s… If only we had Tom Madden’s matchbook collection that gathered dust in the window of his record shop out in the Sunset, the Jazz Quarter… talented historians welcome to help out…
Out here in Glen Park we’ve been tending the flickering flame and stoking the fire for two decades — a reserve against another rainy day. Don’t be a stranger. Jazz needs you.
Here’s a lengthy video interview with Vince recorded a decade into his time at Pearl’s that’s well worth an hour of your time on a rainy day when you’re not at Bird & Beckett! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuhH8EL2dUA
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
[Read More ]
Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site