Jazz concerts in San Diego – outdoors and socially distanced – have resumed

The number of social distanced live jazz concerts in San Diego is slowly but steadily increasing as musicians and promoters cautiously navigate the evolving landscape of the coronavirus pandemic for paid live events.

Weekly outdoor performances have been taking place since mid-February at Panama 66’s Balboa Park, which has eight more concerts on Wednesday led by top trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos scheduled for April, two per night. They are known to sell.

Outdoor concerts also began in February in North Park at Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center. He has recently started presenting indoor concerts led by saxophonist Charlie Arbelaez, the venue’s new musical director. He’s been a mainstay of Queen Bee’s for some time and earlier this year he hosted a live benefit concert, which also featured Castellanos, for the then-closed popular cultural center.

In addition to the options, La Jolla Music Society will be offering a three-part jazz concert series this month in its Wu Tsai courtyard at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. It begins on April 21 with rising pianist Christian Sands and his trio. Multiple Grammy nominees Sands was a teenage patron of jazz keyboard luminary Billy Taylor. The company recently announced a series of outdoor chamber music concerts at the same La Jolla venue, also referred to as its outdoor venue The QRT.yrd. (This moniker should not be confused with the Courtyard in downtown San Diego, somewhat of the same name, which has hosted periodic outdoor jazz events over the years.)

There is still more jazz to come. Last month, La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library‘s live jazz performance series kicked off with a performance by five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Billy Childs, accompanied by bassist Dave Robaire.

Internationally renowned San Diego saxophonist Charles McPherson will perform the concert live on May 17. The Athenaeum is exploring outdoor performance options for this summer, according to its jazz program coordinator, Daniel Atkinson.

A full list of upcoming San Diego jazz concerts is below, along with ticket information. Outdoor live concerts are for all ages with remote headquarters and a requirement for spectators to wear masks except when consuming food or drink.

The capacity of the three San Diego Outdoor Jazz Venues is similar, as each has limited capacities due to current California and San Diego County sanitary guidelines.

A growing hybrid

Cuban-born percussion virtuoso Pedrito Martinez returns for a concert in June in La Jolla with his band.

(Photo by Brenda Kenneally

“We had our Tuesday jam sessions held on our back patio,” said Queen Bee Music Director Arbelaez, who teaches jazz at Palomar College. “But with a reduced capacity, we can only accommodate around 30 people. By moving indoors, we can more than double that number to 75 – and we won’t have to worry about the weather.

Arbelaez hopes to launch a weekly series of jazz concerts at Queen Bee’s as soon as health guidelines allow. He thanks Castellanos, saxophonist McPherson and Holly Hofmann, prominent flautist and organizer of San Diego jazz concerts, for providing expert advice on the development of the series he envisions.

In a development that reflects a growing hybrid, the four paid outdoor concerts at Panama 66 Wednesday in April will also be broadcast live on the YouTube channel. ElectricLouieTerre. Live-streamed concerts will be free, although an online musicians tip option will be available to online attendees.

“The paid dinner concerts sold out quickly, which we are very happy with,” said Castellanos, who works closely with Panama 66 co-owner Jeff Motch.

“It’s also great to have them broadcast live by Louis Valenzuela – and (the radio station) Jazz 88 KSDS will start to rebroadcast some of the shows on Saturday afternoon,” continued Castellanos.

Due to the COVID-19-fueled interior hall closures, the Wednesday night jam sessions that Castellanos has also hosted for years next to Panama 66 in the auditorium of the San Diego Museum of Art have been discontinued. last year. He and Motch look forward to resuming traffic jams – and full service at Panama 66 – when it is safe and permitted to do so.

“Honestly, it will depend not only on which sanitary guidelines allow us to fully reopen, but when it makes sense for us to do so, and when is it comfortable and safe for our customers and employees,” said Motch, who is also co-owner of Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights with his wife, Clea Hantman.

“We do the same at Panama 66 as we do at Blind Lady Ale House, constantly talking to our customers. We want to measure the temperature of the room to see when they are comfortable dining out and attending social events. We don’t want to go until our customers are ready to go – and not until our employees are ready to go …

“Most of our employees are fully vaccinated, or will be in April, and that will change a lot of views. It will be great for our employees to feel safe and confident that they won’t get sick or miss work, and that they can serve people regardless of who they are serving.

Panama 66 also hosts concerts featuring different styles of music every Friday and Saturday. No tickets are required for these performances, but food and drink purchases are.

Jazz Athenaeum

Performances take place at 7 p.m. and can be streamed for up to 48 hours after taking place. $ 15 (members), $ 20 (non-members). ljathenaeum.org/events; (858) 454-5872

April 12: Eric Reed and John Clayton

May 17: Charles McPherson and his group

June 14: Larry Koonse and Josh Nelson

La Jolla Music Society Courtyard Jazz

Performances take place at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. $ 70 and $ 80 (includes a $ 10 drink voucher). ljms.org; (858) 459-3728

April 24: Christian Sands trio

June 11: Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, with Jimmy James and Dan Weiss

June 24: Pedro Martinez Group

Panama 66 Jazz Club Dinner

Performances take place at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. $ 25 and over. For tickets go to panama66.com/livemusic.

April 7: Gilbert Castellanos Quartet, with Sam Hirsh, John Murray and Kevin Kanner

April 14: “The Original Hammond B3 Organ Quartet Reunion Concert”, with Gilbert Castellanos, Anthony Wilson, Joe Bagg and Mark Ferber

April 21th : Gilbert Castellanos Quartet, with Joshua White, Marshall Hawkins and Tyler Kreutel

April 28: Gilbert Castellanos Quartet, with Joshua White, John Murray and Tyler Kreutel

Artistic and cultural center of the queen bee

Performance times vary. queenbeessd.com

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Jam session Jazz Botanka, with Charlie Arbelaez, his band and his guests. To free.

April 23: Jon Mayer Trio, with Roy McCurdy and Will Lyle. 7:30 p.m. $.

Willie J. Johnson

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