Noted jazz musician and historian Dr. David Hardiman answers some questions for us on how he sees San Francisco and its music scene.

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February 12, 2020
Photo Credit: Do The Bay

How I See San Francisco: Jazz Artist Dr. David Hardiman

Dr. David Hardiman, Sr. is a noted Bay Area musician, a professional trumpet and flugelhorn player, composer/arranger, jazz historian and adjudicator. In 2019, David was honored with both the Jazzline Institute's Bay Area Jazz & Blues Artists Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Association of Top Professionals' Best Music Director of the Year honor. He is the co-founder and musical director of the Fillmore Jazz Ambassadors (FJA), a group dedicated to inspiring a renaissance of jazz in San Francisco. He shared some thoughts on San Francisco, the Fillmore District, and more.

Where would someone find good jazz on an evening out in San Francisco?

The San Francisco Jazz CenterGreat American Music Hall, the Sheba Lounge, Boom Boom Room, the Fillmore Auditorium, Club Deluxe, Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio, Zingari Ristorante +Jazz Bar, Revolution Café, Bix, Pier 23, and the Fillmore Heritage Center.

The Fillmore Jazz Ambassadors’ mission is to “rejuvenate jazz in San Francisco”. Tell us about jazz’s history in the city.

The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era goes back to the 1940s, when clubs like Jimbo’s Bop City, Club Flamingo, the Fillmore Auditorium, Champagne Supper Club, Club Alabam, and Club Iroquois hosted some of the world’s greatest musicians and performers like “Duke” Elllington, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, John Handy, Dexter Gordon, Ella Fitzgerald, Pony Poindexter, John Coltrane, Frank Fisher, and more. 

In general, what excites you about San Francisco’s current music scene?

San Francisco’s current music scene is very diversified, with different genres of music from classical, ballet, and opera to different jazz, Latin, salsa or rock. There's something for everyone! 

What's your favorite annual event that happens in San Francisco?

My favorite annual event is the Fillmore Jazz Street Festival on Fillmore St., generally around the 4th of July.

Aside from the Fillmore, what’s one neighborhood of San Francisco that you wish visitors knew about?

I would recommend the Embarcadero and PIER 39 neighborhoods.

Do you have a favorite day trip out of the city to recommend?

Since I play as the bugler for the Golden Gate Fields Horse Racing Track in Berkeley, I would recommend spending a day there for a fun event.  

What is one of your favorite restaurants in the city?

One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco is Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at PIER 39. 

What's one to-do item remaining on your San Francisco bucket list?

To have our music groups perform at some of the big events at The Moscone Center or the new Chase Center

What should every visitor to San Francisco do at least once?

Visit the San Francisco Jazz Center, the music venues at Civic Center, or the sports arenas. 

Any final advice for visitors coming to the Bay Area?

When visiting the Bay Area, bring clothing to dress up or down depending upon the unexpected weather. Go to our website to see what is going on with the Fillmore Jazz Ambassadors and the Fillmore District and San Francisco’s Jazz Scene!


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