653 Chenery Street
in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood

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Open to walk-in trade and browsing
Tuesday to Sunday
noon to six


Live Streams every weekend!
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But nothing beats being in the room
with the music & the musicians!

Friday, March 22nd – 6-8pm
Tony Johnson Quartet

Veteran drummer Tony Johnson, a master of swing, bebop and straight ahead jazz with 65 years on the San Francisco scene, has a monthly residency at Bird & Beckett. In the odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September, November), he brings his quartet with saxophonist Bob Kenmotsu, pianist Keith Saunders and bassist Eric Markowitz — first call, top flight jazz players all.

In the even-numbered months, Tony leads the 230 Jones Street band, which of late featured the great Si Perkoff, may he rest in peace. Tony’s band will make a special nod to Si on their April 26th date.

But tonight, it’s the quartet!

Tony Johnson, a native Australian, slipped down from Canada and hit North Beach in 1959 while still in his early twenties, and immediately found work in the clubs there, recording in 1960 with vocalist Bev Kelly live at the Coffee Gallery in a band that included the legendary sax player Pony Poindexter on a date produced by Orrin Keepnews for Riverside Records. He toured with Earl Hines, played with Peggy Lee at the Venetian Room, and worked and recorded with Claude Williamson, a key pianist in the West Coast jazz firmament from the late 1940s through the end of the 1950s with a career that extended well into the 1990s. Tony was a vital player in the San Francisco jazz clubs that flourished in the 1960s to 1990s alongside such musicians as Eddie Duran, Dean Reilly, Noel Jewkes, Al Plank, Hal Stein, Flip Nunez and so many more, toured in the classic outfit Swing Fever for decades, and has gigged assiduously the last few decades at key spots including the now-defunct Club Deluxe, the Comstock Saloon, Mr. Tipples, the Madrone Art Bar, Geelou — wherever better jazz is played.

Bob Kenmotsu, a tenor saxophonist with a penchant for the cool, fluid beauty of Lester Young, enjoyed a long New York sojourn during which he was in Jack McDuff’s organ combo and the Ruth Brown Band, while gigging all along the eastern seaboard and further afield. During that period, he recorded ‘The Spark’, with Billy Hart and Ira Coleman, and ‘Bronx Tale’, with Pat Martino and Jack McDuff, and played on Pat Martino’s ‘Nightwings’, with Bill Stewart and Marc Johnson. He was in Japan during the mid-1990s, touring and playing clubs, concerts and festivals, then returned to the Bay Area. He recorded ‘Looking at Air’ in 1997, with Bill Stewart, Essiet Okun Essiet and Joel Weiskopf, and recently released ‘Reunion’ featuring Bob Corwin, piano, Danny Flahive, bass, and Ron Marabuto, drums.

Keith Saunders also had a long, formative and productive period in New York, after studying in Los Angeles with Charlie Shoemake as well as with Horace Silver, arranging for Dick Berk’s Jazz Adoption Agency and working with Eddie Harris, Roy McCurdy, Dick Watrous and others. In New York, he soaked up the history made by the modern jazz masters of the 1940s & ’50s, gigging widely, leading and recording four cds with the busy touring outfit he called the New York Hard Bop Quintet, and working with Richie Cole, Joe Lovano and other greats. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010, and names Akira Tana, Donald Bailey, Frank Tusa, Andrew Speight, Warren Gale, Pete Yellin and Vince Lateano as just a few of the towering players he’s worked with here.

Eric Markowitz grew up in New Jersey, close by the jazz Mecca of New York City, soaking up the amazing jazz that city had on offer, then went to St. Louis to study, finding mentors in drummer Joe Charles and saxophonist/composer Jimmy Sherrod. He spent the next ten years playing and recording as a top bassist on the St. Louis jazz scene, then came to the Bay Area in 2003, where he quickly established himself as a first-call player in the local jazz community. On any given day you can find him playing with local greats Vince Lateano, Patrick Wolff, Adam Shulman, Jay Standards, Jeffrey Burr, Smith Dobson, Keith Saunders, Tony Johnson and more, and once upon a time Andrew Speight, may he rest in peace. Eric has also had the great fortune to work with jazz legends when they’ve come to town, jazz masters that have included Jimmy Heath, Harold Mabern, Dina Derose, Joe Magnorelli, Grant Stewart, Ralph Moore and Richie Cole.

Such are the “local” jazz musicians you’ll hear time and again at Bird & Beckett!

BYOB and a twenty for the band!
For reservations, call the shop at 415-586-3733.
Reservations are honored until show time.
They’re not always necessary, but they’re never a bad idea.


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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

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...
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The Independent Musicians Alliance

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

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