There are only three things you need to know about Oakland's The Sound Room: they've got lots of heart, the combined for-and-non-profit model is innovative and inspiring, and the music is phenomenal.
From their website, The Sound Room's goal is to focus is on the sound of the music:
Unlike clubs where the performance may be peripheral to the experience, at the Sound Room the performance is the experience. We are an all-ages listening room. We exist to present great music and promote jazz as an art form.
Coming up on their two year anniversary in November, the space is the result of a collaborative effort between James Barker and Robert Bradsby, two architects living in Oakland:
Uptown Kitchen is the brainchild of James Barker, an architect who'd long had a hankering to get involved in the culinary world. Last year, inspiration struck while Barker was helping a friend launch a gourmet tea company. He realized there were many aspiring food makers who needed a place to work. By providing that kind of facility, he could be involved in food without actually cooking for a living — a "merciless task" he didn't necessarily feel up for.
Around that time, Barker met one of his eventual partners in the kitchen venture, Robert Bradsby, a fellow architect who was looking to start a nonprofit jazz venue as an extension of the house concert series that he and his wife, Karen Van Leuven, had hosted for years. Bradsby had found a potential home for his club at 2147 Broadway, but the space came with a 1,200-square-foot commercial kitchen — a former Meals on Wheels site — attached to it. Once Barker and Bradsby got to talking, a collaboration between their respective projects seemed like a natural fit.
(Read more about their story in the East Bay Express.)
The team behind this project is 100% volunteer run and the music is great. Check out their calendar for upcoming events.
Special Note: As a part of First Fridays in Oakland, the Jazzschool Combos -- a group of local young musicians coordinated by Erik Jekabson and the California Jazz Conservatory -- will be performing at The Sound Room on December 5, 2014 from 6-9pm. FREE! (Later performances starting at 9pm will have a cover).