Friday, 4 September 2009

October 15, 1962: Closing of Tsubo's, Berkeley, CA

We have been extensive chroniclers of the story of Berkeley's Jabberwock. This item in Russ Wilson's "World Of Jazz" column in the October 21, 1962 edition of the Oakland Tribune details the exact date of the closure of the Berkeley jazz coffeehouse Tsubo's. Tsubo's was at 2901 Telegraph, and its closure made it available to be turned into the Jabberwock.

Tsubo's brief pre-Jabberwock history is best known for the immortal guitarist Wes Montgomery's album Full House, on Riverside Records. The album was recorded live at Tsubo's on June 25, 1962, with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin and Miles Davis's rhythm section (Wynton Kelly-piano, Paul Chambers-bass, Jimmy Cobb-drums), recorded right before a Davis date at San Francisco's Blackhawk. The 2006 liner notes to the re-released cd, by producer Orrin Keepnews, reveal that the suggestion to use Tsubo's came from Wes Montgomery himself. Montgomery was staying in the Bay Area with his brothers, and apparently Montgomery had an open invitation to work on Monday nights.

Whether Wes Montgomery worked any Monday nights at Tsubo's besides June 25, 1962 isn't clear. Presumably, with Monday nights regularly open, Keepnews and Riverside Records were able to book the date at the last minute. Whether Montgomery played only one or several Monday nights at Tsubo's, he helped initiate a long string of exceptional music at 2901 Telegraph for the next five years.

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