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JFS #92 Live from the Keystone Korner with Todd Barkan



Occasionally on the Journey I wonder why I pay homage to those players who I never met, or saw play. To know authenticity when you never experienced it.

I have interviewed Ira Gitler, Herb Wong and Nat Hentoff on this journey. Guys who produced records, wrote linear notes and filled in the human with the being.

I interviewed Fred Taylor who among other things ran the Jazz Workshop and Paul's Mall which was a duel musical outlet for psychedelia and jazz.

And now we get to North Beach circa '72. A gentlemen by the name of Todd Barkan takes over a club next to the police station  called it the Keystone Korner. 750 villeo street...

He creates a club that provided accessibility to great leaders for anyone who appreciated authenticity and love. He was a musical match maker who cared about the musicians idiosyncrasies and how to fit personalities and make them work.

He charged $3.00 during the week to see Cannonball Adderley
$3.25 on the weekends. The entire club permeated with the warm home cooking of Ora Harris. For those who wanted to roast a joint there were ionizers on the ceiling that sucked the smoke right up so that it would not bother the people around them.

Now, this establishment was already stepped in psychedelic blues like Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders.

And now the wheels turn again. Merl's cousin was Eddie Moore who played in organ trios with Merl in the Fillmore District where Calvin Keys would sometimes play the breakfast set. Calvin Keys said "if you weren't playing the Keystone when you were in San Francisco then you weren't playin."

And Eddie Marshall came out because of the 4th way and started wearing his dashiki's  with James Leary and Herbie Lewis guys who made up a rhythm section with vibist Bobby Hutcherson.

Carl Burnett would come in and smell Ora's banana bread when he played with George Cables and Freddie Hubbard.

Rasaan Roland Kirk (a boyhood friend of Barkan's) and Grover Washington Jr. Played benefit concerts in Oakland to raise money so the Keystone could obtain a liquor license.

Understanding true freedom of expression, a player in his own right and Someone who validates what this radio host so desires Todd Barkan welcome to the JFS.

Todd Barkan [Download]


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*Photo by Kathy Sloane