Jazz has deep roots in Sacramento. For 44 years, the city played host to a massive jazz festival, traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend in Old Sacramento and drawing, at its peak, more than 100,000 attendees. But changing times and changing demographics led to declining numbers, forcing the event’s closure in 2017.
While smaller festivals have sprung up — the Hot Jazz Jubilee, scheduled Sept. 1-4, is one — there’s been nothing of its magnitude to take its place.
Sacramento also lacks a club dedicated to jazz, suggesting this uniquely all-American art form is all but dead in the River City. But there’s a movement underway to keep the music alive, spearheaded in part by a conglomerate of restaurant owners who have recognized the need and filled it by adding jazz to their menus on a weekly-or-more basis. The effort, they say, has resulted in a trifecta of dividends: It drives in business, gives old pros and young lions alike a place to play, and fills a void for local jazz fans.