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Death of Jazz Club Underscores a Changing Scene

Death of Jazz Club Underscores a Changing writes,

As another holiday season under a stagnating economy draws to a close, it is hardly surprising that San Francisco would lose that rarely profitable of ventures, a jazz room.

But Coda, a bar, restaurant and club in the Mission District, did not seem like it was going under. In just a year and a half, it had established itself as one of the most interesting jazz-based schedules in the Bay Area. Acts like the Jazz Mafia tapped into a vibrant younger music scene, and salsa Sunday bookings and Latin jazz nights sold out. Stevie Wonder dropped by for a set; Liz Phair covered Velvet Underground songs.

Two weeks ago Bruce Hanson, the club’s owner, shocked staff members and promoters with the news that Coda would close after a New Year’s Eve blowout featuring Rayband and 8 Legged Monster.

Mr. Hanson blamed poor economic timing, not the business model or the musical genre. “Maybe if we opened today, we’d make it,” he said.

As Coda prepares for its final show, the future does bring hope. Preservation Hall, the famed New Orleans club and band, has announced plans to open on Valencia Street in 2011.

And SF Jazz, a nonprofit that programs 100 or so events a year, including the SF Jazz Festival, is slated to open its $60 million permanent home in the fall of 2012. It is no coincidence that the location is in Hayes Valley, spitting distance from other major music spots like the opera and the symphony.

In a nod to both jazz history and the current night-life options, though, Randall Kline, founder of SF Jazz, said there would be a street-level space, holding around 90 people in addition to a larger concert hall. “It’ll feel more like a club,” he said.

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