The San Diego Jazz Scene: Venues, Festivals, and More

San Diego Jazz SceneConsidered America’s classical music, jazz is a living art form, ever-changing and ever-growing. From Duke Ellington to Miles Davis, ragtime, swing, bop, and progressive jazz, the San Diego jazz scene offers an expressive, enriching experience for all ages.

New to San Diego jazz? Check it out on a local radio station:

  • Jazz 88.3 FM

KSDS Jazz 88.3 is a non-commercial, non-profit station that presents, preserves, and promotes the uniquely American art form of jazz through programming, events, and education. Its website offers a great calendar of upcoming San Diego jazz events!

  • Smooth Jazz 98.1 FM

KIFM plays adult contemporary music from pop to jazz and easy listening.

  • 89.5 KPBS Radio

National Public Radio (NPR) offers music from jazz artists performed on stages around the world during JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. Stream it live from NPR Music.

  • 102.1 KPRi

This local, independent station broadcasts two hours of contemporary jazz every Sunday at 7 p.m. during its Lites-Out with Kelly Cole segment.

Attend a San Diego jazz festival:

November 26th through 30th, 2014, the Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center will host the “crown jewel of jazz festivals,” offering a wide variety of traditional jazz, dixieland, ragtime, swing, and rockabilly styles.

Memorial Day weekend, May 24th through 25th of 2014, the Payne Pest Management San Diego Jazz Festival will feature Jill Scott, Maxwell, Brian Culbertson, Jonathan Butler, Boney James, Ledisi, Leela James, and many more at La Costa Resort & Spa.

On Friday, April 4th, the MiraCosta College hosts the 8th annual Oceanside Jazz Festival, featuring 50 performing groups from schools around the U.S.

Learn to dance to San Diego jazz:

Jazz music can be sharp or smooth, quick or slow, subtle or strong. It incorporates techniques used in modern dance and ballet, training the body to isolate moving a single part while others remain still. It’s a great way to fit in a good workout, while enjoying jazz music at the same time!

The Civic Arts Program offers San Diego jazz dance classes at affordable prices for children and adults at 25 city recreation centers.

The San Diego Academy for performing arts offers beginner jazz dance classes for adults and children.

The California Ballet School also offers jazz dance classes for adults and children.

Looking for a more one-on-one approach? Search for a private dance teacher near you and book lessons with TakeLessons, offering many options for scheduling, pricing, location, and dance genres.

Just can’t get enough jazz? San Diego offers many jazz venues:

La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library presents concerts showcasing the rich and varied artistry of jazz at 1008 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Music on Fridays and Saturdays each month features local San Diego jazz artists; you can find the monthly schedule posted online. The café is located at 8278 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942.

Croce’s showcases jazz and other styles four nights a week in their Ex-Patriate room, plus a Sunday jazz brunch at 2760 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.

Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. the café offers performances by up-and-comers at 128 E St, Encinitas, CA 92024.

Enjoy San Diego jazz on Saturdays at Harry’s (4370 La Jolla Village Drive, #150, San Diego, CA 92122). Call ahead for reservations and featured artists.

Ki’s offers a Friday night concert series from 8:30-10:30 p.m. featuring a variety of jazz artists that can be enjoyed free with dinner or with a paid cover. Check out their website for upcoming artists. Located at 2591 SCH 101, Cardiff, CA 92007.

La Jolla Community Center’s Fourth Fridays Jazz Series is back once again. Doors open at 7 p.m., with shows at 8 p.m.. Visit their website for upcoming events. Located at 6811 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037.

MA4’s main stage offers ticketed concerts featuring various artists from across the country, often including jazz artists. Check out upcoming shows and purchase tickets on their website. Located at 3940 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.

98 Bottles offers a fantastic calendar of San Diego jazz music. Check out the website for upcoming acts. Located at 2400 Kettner Ave, #110, Little Italy, CA 92101.

The Oceanside Museum of Art series features jazz artists in an open-air cocktail format with gourmet appetizers, desserts, and specialty wines at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054.

Check out the Scripps Research Institute website for information on their jazz concert series held at 10640 John J. Hopkins Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Sycamore Den offers free live music, hosting bands Thursdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m. at 3391 Adams Ave, Normal Heights, CA 92116.

On the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month from 7-9:15 p.m., 4-5-piece bands and music ensembles perform jazz and contemporary music as part of a complimentary performing arts program from the San Diego International Airport Art Program, located at 3225 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

This Pacific Beach bar offers live music seven days a week at 873 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109. Go happy, because they “reserve the right to refuse service to grumpy people in a hurry.”

Whatever your level or interest in jazz, there are so many opportunities to enrich and enliven your world with the San Diego jazz. Have fun!

Photo by woodleywonderworks


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