Anyone who is familiar with Wordpress, which powers something like 40% of the world’s biggest websites (and this one!) will know that each upgrade is named after a famous jazz musician.

The reason behind this?

Most likely the fact that it’s core developer, Matt Mullenweg, started out as a jazz saxophone player at University of Houston. 

Fast-forward 20 years and the tech innovator has joined forces with famed Jazz educator and pianist Dr. Simon Rowe and his team to open Keys Jazz Bistro in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach neighbourhood at 498 Broadway at Kearny.  

The Grand Opening

Keys Jazz Bistro will celebrate its Grand Opening on Thursday, November 10, 2022 with the exclusive one-time-only musical pairing of vocalists Mary Stallings and Clairdee.

The festivities will continue with three-nights of special musical collaborations and concerts that honour the past, present, and future of jazz and live music in San Francisco and beyond. 

On Friday, November 11, the Patrick Wolff Quartet presents “The Horns of San Francisco” featuring special guests Noel Jewkes, Erik Jakobson, James Mahone, Mike Olmos, Tony Peebles, and Kristen Strom and on Saturday, November 12, the Grand Opening Festivities conclude with a Hammond B3 Organ Summit.

About the team

Dr. Simon Rowe is a long-time San Francisco resident and active performing musician. 

From Sydney, Australia, Dr. Rowe has served as Executive Director of The Brubeck Institute and as the Founding Executive Director of the Roots, Jazz and American Music program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 

Dr. Rowe’s leadership team includes Keys Jazz Bistro Co-owner Matt Mullenweg who Co-Founded WordPress and is Founder and CEO of Automattic; and hospitality industry expert Eric Vance will oversee general operations.

Co-owner Matt Mullenweg is co-founder of the open-source publishing platform WordPress, founder and CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress, WooCommerce, Tumblr, WPVIP, Day One, and Pocket Casts.

Additionally, Matt runs Audrey Capital, an investment and research company. He has been recognized for his leadership by Forbes, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, Fortune, Fast Company, Wired, University Philosophical Society, and Vanity Fair.

Keys Jazz Bistro Going Forwards

According to the press release, Keys Jazz Bistro will present music and dinner four nights a week with two sets and two seatings, and with three sets on Fridays and Saturdays.

The venue will seat 125 people and features a state-of-the-art sound system, a Yamaha Concert grand piano, and a resident Hammond B3 organ.

“The intent of Keys Jazz Bistro is to create and celebrate community around the artform and culture of jazz music, to support artists at all stages of their pursuits, and to create a sanctuary – a secular church – where artists and listeners connect in the moment as they share music, food and drink together”.

Upcoming shows currently announced include Kenny Washington and Craig Handy with the Simon Rowe Trio.

“Opening a music venue has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager and now is the time to make my dream a reality” said Keys Jazz Bistro Co-Owner Dr. Simon Rowe. 

“Our team is dedicated to the North Beach neighborhood, our City, and our music community in the Bay Area.  We have the right people with extensive experience, musical knowledge, and technical ingenuity to open this space to serve as a high-level listening room, a dining destination, and a home for musicians from the Bay Area and around the world.”

As part of Keys Jazz Bistro’s commitment to the Bay Area arts community, Dr. Rowe has partnered with two Bay Area non-profit organizations, 

Jazz In The Neighborhood (JiTN) and The Independent Musicians Alliance (IMA), aim to improve the working conditions of Bay Area jazz artists and to nurture and facilitate opportunities for aspiring artists.

JiTN works to improve the economics of jazz performance in the Bay Area by presenting affordable concerts, paying musicians a guaranteed wage, and supporting the work of established and aspiring jazz artists. 

The IMA is an advocacy and resource organization for professional musicians, teachers, and allies, which is built on the foundation of the power of solidarity.

“We are thrilled to have a San Francisco home base for Jazz in the Neighborhood and the Independent Musicians Alliance at Keys Jazz Bistro,” said Mario Guarneri, Founder of JiTN and Co-Founder of IMA with Eric Whittington of Bird & Beckett. “Simon has made Keys Jazz Bistro musician-centric and we look forward to working together to promote and nurture our community values around Art, Equity, and Access.”

For more information, visit KeysJazzBistro.com

Matt Fripp
Matt Fripp

International jazz booking agent, manager and host of Jazzfuel.
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