Keystone Korner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Keystone Korner
Keystone Korner 1982.jpg
Odean Pope in front of Keystone Korner, 1982
Location750 Vallejo Street
San Francisco, California
United States
Coordinates37°47′55″N 122°24′34″W / 37.798586°N 122.409374°W / 37.798586; -122.409374Coordinates: 37°47′55″N 122°24′34″W / 37.798586°N 122.409374°W / 37.798586; -122.409374
OwnerTodd Barkan

Keystone Korner was jazz club in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, which opened in 1972 and continued operation until 1983. Many live recordings were made at the club.[1] Jessica Williams was the house pianist for a number of years.


In 1969, Freddie Herrera bought Dino and Carlo's Bar in the North Beach section of San Francisco. He changed the name to Keystone Korner, a reference to Keystone Cops, because of its proximity to the Central Police Station on the opposite corner of Emery Lane.[2]

Keystone Korner began as a topless bar, but quickly changed direction when songwriter Nick Gravenites convinced Herrera that live music would bring in more customers. The strength of the music scene in San Francisco allowed Herrera to book young musicians who would go on to stellar careers. Patrons filled the club to hear new talents such as Elvin Bishop, Neal Schon, Boz Scaggs, and The Pointer Sisters. Herrera's success made it possible to move across the San Francisco Bay and open a larger room, called Keystone Berkeley.[3] He then sold the Keystone Korner to Todd Barkan who converted the nightclub from a popular rock venue to an internationally famous jazz club.[4]

Barkan paid $12,500 (equivalent to $74,871 in 2018) for the Keystone Korner in 1972, and hired prominent jazz musicians to play there. Early gigs by performers including Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey established the Keystone as one of the best jazz clubs in the nation—a reputation that continued to build as musiciansMiles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Betty Carter and Stan Getz appeared on its stage.[5] Faced with economic challenges Barkan was forced to close the Keystone Korner in 1983.[6]

In 2019, Barkan and Michelin-starred chef Robert Wiedmaier re-launched the Keystone Korner in Baltimore’s Harbor East.[7] The legendary bassist and bandleader Ron Carter and his iconic trio with guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Donald Vega open the club on April 30, 2019.[8]

Live recordings[edit]

Todd Barkan, left, proprietor of Keystone Korner jazz club, San Francisco, and drummer and leader of the Jazz Messengers, Art Blakey, at Keystone Korner. December 27, 1979.


  1. ^ Whiting, Sam (October 10, 2011). "'Keystone Korner' documents jazz club". San Francisco Chronicle.
  2. ^ McNally, Dennis (2003). A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. Three Rivers Press. p. 399. ISBN 978-0767911863.
  3. ^ Feinstein, Sascha (2012). Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club. ISBN 0253356911.
  4. ^ Selvin, Joel (1996). San Francisco: The Musical History Tour. Chronicle Books. pp. 38–40. ISBN 978-0811810074.
  5. ^ Sloane, Kathy (2011). Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club. Indiana University Press. pp. 2–7. ISBN 978-0253356918.
  6. ^ Chinen, Nate (February 28, 2013). "Summoning a West Coast Spirit". The New York Times. p. C1.
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]