Every big city has an internationally-acclaimed jazz club that resonates whenever the city’s name is mentioned.
Hollywood is known for movies and celebrities, but when it comes to jazz music the #1 choice for lovers of the genre is Catalina Bar & Grill, popularly referred to as Catalina Jazz Club.
In the past, the venue located at 6726 West Sunset Boulevard has welcomed jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and Betty Carter.
Each week, living up to the slogan “Nothing But The Best In Jazz“, Catalina Jazz Club showcases a lineup filled with top-class act such as Chick Corea, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Ron Carter and Joshua Redman. And there’s more! In fact, the venue is the stage for collaboration that feature suprise guests. An example? The iconic Steve Wonder joining Kenny Burrell on stage:
At Catalina they are all about presenting the best jazz performers around, as club owner Catalina Popescu confirms. “Our main priority is to please our diverse clientele by bringing the best jazz talents to Hollywood and continue to do so far for may years to come,” she says.
Today, this upscale jazz dinner club is considered Hollywood’s “real jazz mecca”, which gives guests the opportunity to sit very close to the action. No bad seats means that you can enjoy performances by top-shelf acts from up close.
Catalina Jazz Club was also included in DownBeat Magazine‘s list of the world’s greatest jazz venues. The popular publication refers to it as “A stopover for touring legends and locals, Catalina Bar & Grill is the longstanding oasis on Sunset Boulevard, tucked into an unassuming building“.
Jazz Greats and Rising Stars
And DownBeat is not the only publication that has given positive reviews to Catalina Jazz. For Los Angeles Magazine, for instance, “Top names in mainstream and contemporary jazz turn up regularly at this intimate supper club“. World-class artists like Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Ritenour, Marcus Miller they have all performed at Catalina when touring California. And even the book Jazz for Dummies, of the For Dummies series, cites Catalina as one of Los Angeles’ prime jazz venues.
Even though Catalina Jazz Club is considered one of L.A.’s top places for live music, it is not only about jazz greats. In fact, it regularly presents The Young Artist Jazz Series.
Launched in March 1996 and produced by Barbara Brighton, it aims at providing a forum for local young jazz artists to showcase their talent in front of a live audience. All while giving the community the opportunity to support and enjoy these musicians.
Since the beginning, it was clear that the audience of The Young Artist Jazz Series was witnessing the future of jazz. People like Zane Musa, now considered a saxophone “monster”, who opened the showcase at the age of 17. Or Anthony Wilson, nominated for a Grammy and known for his performances with Diana Krall, or Willie Jones III – who have shared the stage with Roy Hargrove and recorded with the likes of Horace Silver and Arturo Sandoval.
The series has also presented several school jazz bands, including the Washington Prep High School, L.A. High School for Arts, and Agoura High.
Nearly every taleted young jazz musician in L.A. stops by Catalina for the Young Artist Jazz Series and it is not surpring to hear that the list of alumni includes some of today’s most in-demand names like Gerald Clayton, Raya Yarbrough and Matt Roberts.
Jazz, Good Food and V.I.P.s
To experience Catalina at its best, you should pair an evening of great live jazz with a dinner (after all, it’s called Catalia Bar & Grill for a reason). The sophisticated menu includes salads and different types of starters – like quesadillas, nachos, chips & guacamole, and fried calamari – as well as main courses for all kinds of food lovers. And in case you are wondering yes, Catalina also has a wide selection of wine, from California, France, Italy and Argentina.
Furthermore, it is not rare that special guests can be seen attending a jazz performance or having dinner at Catalina. So take a look around you, because in addition to listening to world-class jazz act and promising young artists, eat high-quality food, and enjoy a good glass of wine, you might see V.IP.s such as Hollywood actor Joe Pesci and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
If you happen to visit Los Angeles, Catalina Bar & Grill – or Catalina Jazz Club as it is known to its loyal patrons – should definitely be in your list of sightseeings. And if you are living in L.A. chances are you will become a regular. Whether it is to see your favorite jazz heroes live, listen to rising stars or enjoy a bite to eat, you will fall in love with Catalina Jazz Club.
6725 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles (CA)