Dizzy’s Jazz Club

I’d never been to Dizzy’s, a jazz club in San Diego. And when I finally went it wasn’t what I expected. I went Sunday to hear a concert. Do they perform concerts in jazz clubs? Maybe not. But it featured a percussionist and a harpist who happened to be Tasha.

Dizzy's in San Diego

Dizzy’s in San Diego

I thought jazz clubs were dark places on a first floor or a basement, with a bandstand at the front, a bar on the side, round tables and chairs in the middle. But when I looked up Dizzy’s on the web it looked like a car dealership on Mission Bay. I thought, ‘This can’t be right.’ I basically refused to believe it until I got there.

It was not a car dealership. It was, by day, a U-haul dealer and a place that rented jet skis. It had floor-to-ceiling windows with a parking lot out front, with big letters painted on the windows that advertised the aquatic motor toys. Tasha later told me she also spotted a Donald Trump sign in front of the business.

A Donald Trump sign!? Jazz clubs are supposed to be places for the hip. The cognoscenti. They were supposed to be the ultimate anti-Donald Trump kind of place.

I knew that Dizzy’s never used to be a jazz club in the sense that I knew because it didn’t have a bar and didn’t serve alcohol. It was an all-ages place, maybe harkening back to the New York coffee clubs of beatnik times. Dizzy’s used to have a nice performing space in downtown San Diego but lost its lease and ended up in jet-ski land.

But I attended the club, paid the cover charge and my daughter Sophie and I enjoyed the music, which was harp and percussion music drawn from indigenous cultures of the Americas. I know that sounds a little too CalArts but it was actually good music. The acoustics were good, I was comfortable and eventually the strange setting and jet-ski ads fell away and I thought, ‘Why not?’ Art happens wherever there’s a space for it.

As we drove home, Sophie (who’s 11) told me she wanted to start a jazz club and we talked about what to call it. She might go into business with her friend Stella so we thought it could be the Stella Star or Stella’s Spot. Then we thought it could be in Kensington because that neighborhood had lots of potential for coming up with cool names.

In the meantime, I hope Dizzy’s can find a different place. Truthfully, we hipsters can only put up with it for so long.




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