Black Hawk (nightclub)

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Black Hawk
Location 200 Hyde Street
San Francisco, California, United States
Coordinates 37°46′58″N 122°24′55″W / 37.7828°N 122.4154°W / 37.7828; -122.4154Coordinates: 37°46′58″N 122°24′55″W / 37.7828°N 122.4154°W / 37.7828; -122.4154
Type Nightclub
Genre(s) Jazz, Bebop
Opened 1949
Closed 1963
Owner
  • Guido Caccienti
  • Johnny and Helen Noga
Capacity 200

The Black Hawk was a San Francisco nightclub which featured live jazz performances during its period of operation from 1949 to 1963. It was located on the corner of Turk Street and Hyde Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. Guido Caccienti owned the club along with Johnny and Helen Noga.

History[edit]

The Black Hawk's intimate atmosphere was ideal for small jazz groups. In 1959, the fees that the club was able to pay jazz acts rose from less than $300 to more than $3,000 a week.[1] A number of musicians recorded albums at the club, including Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Thelonious Monk, Shelly Manne and Mongo Santamaría.

Billie Holiday and Lester Young played their last West Coast club dates here and the Modern Jazz Quartet played its first.[2] When Charlie Parker was supposed to be opening across town at the Say When Club, he could be found instead jamming at the Hawk. Other notable musicians who appeared there include Dave Brubeck,[3] John Coltrane,[4] Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi, Stan Getz,[5] Mary Stallings, Johnny Mathis,[6] Art Blakey, Shorty Rogers, Art Pepper, Art Farmer, Gerry Mulligan,[7] Horace Parlan and Russ Freeman. Art Tatum mainly did concert work in the last 18 months of his life; he played the Black Hawk in 1955.[8]

Sunday afternoon sessions at the Black Hawk offered blowing time to young musicians. After a young sextet working at the Black Hawk brought Johnny Mathis in for a Sunday afternoon session, Helen Noga, co-owner of the club, decided that she wanted to manage his career. In early September 1955, Mathis gained a job singing at weekends for Ann Dee's 440 Club. After repeated attempts, Noga convinced George Avakian, then head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia, to see him. Avakian came to the club, heard Mathis sing and sent the now famous telegram to his record company: "Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way."[9]

Billie Holiday's old friend Dr. Herbert Henderson visited Holiday when she played dates at the Black Hawk during September 1958. For several months each year, Brubeck, who got his real start at the Black Hawk, returned for extended series of appearances, playing for consecutive weekends, sometimes for three months at a time.[10]

Nick Esposito and his Sextet appeared many times at the Black Hawk during the 1950s. Esposito was known for his guitar jazz stylings. He had hit records such as "Empty Ballroom Blues", "Penny", "Fat Cat Boogie" and others. He always enjoyed coming home to San Francisco where he resided and the Black Hawk Nightclub.

The site of the Blackhawk is now a parking lot. Still standing is the adjacent building on Hyde Street (now housing the 222 Club) where tape recorders were set up to record the Miles Davis album.

Selective discography[edit]

Year Title Artist Genre Label Recorded
1958 A Night at the Blackhawk (Live) Cal Tjader Jazz Fantasy December, 1958
1959 At the Blackhawk, Vol. 1 Shelly Manne Jazz Contemporary September 1959
1959 At the Blackhawk, Vol. 2 Shelly Manne Jazz Contemporary September 1959
1959 At the Blackhawk, Vol. 3 Shelly Manne Jazz Contemporary September 1959
1959 At the Blackhawk, Vol. 4 Shelly Manne Jazz Contemporary September 1959
1960 Thelonious Monk Quartet Plus Two at the Blackhawk Thelonious Monk Jazz Riverside April 1960
1961 In Person Friday Night At The Blackhawk, Complete, Volume I Miles Davis Jazz Columbia April 21, 1961
1961 In Person Saturday Night At The Blackhawk, Complete, Volume II Miles Davis Jazz Columbia April 22, 1961
1962 At The Black Hawk Mongo Santamaría Latin Jazz Fantasy 1962
1962 Ahmad Jamal at the Blackhawk Ahmad Jamal Jazz Argo 1962

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Time (Monday, August 3, 1959)
  2. ^ Selvin, Joel. San Francisco, the Musical History Tour: A Guide to Over 200 of the Bay Area, Chronicle Books, page 76, (1996) - ISBN 0-8118-1007-0
  3. ^ Time: Dave Brubeck (Monday, December 2, 1957)
  4. ^ Chambers, Jack. Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles, Da Capo Press, page 312, (1998) - ISBN 0-306-80849-8
  5. ^ Black Hawk: Stan Getz
  6. ^ Ewen, David. All the Years of American Popular Music, Prentice Hall, page 536, (1977) - ISBN 0-13-022442-1
  7. ^ Gerry Mulligan at Black Hawk
  8. ^ Chilton, John. Who's who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street, Da Capo Press, 1985, p.325 ISBN 0-306-80243-0
  9. ^ Johnny Mathis biography
  10. ^ Michaels, Leonard. West of the West: Imagining California, University of California Press, page178, (1995) - ISBN 0-520-20164-7

External links[edit]