(Jazz drummer Roy Haynes will be Yoshi's San Francisco's opening act Nov. 28)
The new San Francisco wing of esteemed Oakland jazz venue Yoshi’s took the first step towards opening this afternoon: its owners and operators held a press conference at the construction site, loading up the room with free sushi and plenty of photographers. The venue, located around the corner from the Fillmore on Fillmore at Eddy, was still empty of everything but the sawdust and support beams. It won’t officially start hosting jazz artists and dinner patrons until the end of November. (Live music begins November 28 with Roy Haynes & the Yoshi’s Birds of a Feather Super Band, followed by Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band the following night). But the artist renditions hanging on the windows presented a pretty clear vision of a upscale restaurant/lounge/showroom (with a capacity of 420 and an upper balcony) to come.
Yoshi’s San Francisco is part of a larger cluster of business and residential space moving into the 1300 block of Fillmore. In addition to a soul restaurant (called 1300), and Yoshi’s, a Jazz Heritage Center is slated to open. The non-profit center will offer an art gallery, a screening room for jazz films, and a historical display both inside the venue and on the outer walls, in tribute to the neighborhood’s rich jazz history.
But most of the press conference questions focused on this expansion of Yoshi’s. Artistic Director Peter Williams assured the crowd that Yoshi’s Oakland isn’t going anywhere, as there’s jazz fans on both sides of the Bay who’d rather not cross the bridge. That fact, plus the sheer number of tourists flooding this city on a regular basis, make the Yoshi’s team confident that two clubs will be better than one. -- Jennifer Maerz