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In search of a new home for Dizzy's

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the one-man cultural juggernaut behind San Diego's most vibrant jazz venue, Chuck Perrin, received an e-mail from a San Diego Wine & Culinery Center Sales Consultant informing him that the grand piano loaned to him by Hiroyuki Ikezi, (long-time jazz patron), needed to be moved immediately. He was given a two-hour "window" on Wednesday or Thursday to accomplish this.

Image

Think about the reality of that mission. Perrin would have to arrange for professional piano movers to, on virtually zero notice, remove the instrument, then arrange for storage, then reverse the process in the following week to accommodate its availability for the next scheduled Dizzy's concert at the SDW&CC, which he's been operating out of since the original Dizzy's had to move from the Culy Warehouse in 2007.

Perrin had been uncomfortable with the arrangement with the SDW&CC for the last couple of months--it had become harder and harder to schedule concerts as the venue expanded its corporate event rental mission in the emergent economy.

Dizzy's had already been shuttling some of its productions to San Diego's newest jazz spot, The Back Room @ 98 Bottles on Kettner in Little Italy--but the last minute demand to remove the piano was a blow he hadn't bargained for.

Perrin decided that he needed to find a new home for Dizzy's under those circumstances. So, on Thursday morning, he and a few friends managed to load up the Baldwin grand piano, the public address system and the iconic "Dizzy's--where the music matters most," sign into a truck, never to return.

As he rolled out the last piece of equipment on a dolly, Perrin crooned, "I'm free," but it wasn't as much a sign of jubilation as a voice of weary relief for having pulled it off logistically under highly pressurized circumstances.

Luckily, after making several phone calls to local musicians, Perrin found a temporary home for the instrument at the house of tenor saxophone legend Daniel Jackson, who was able to clear enough space to accommodate the piano. Jackson is a fine pianist in his own right, and had been using an old, battered upright for years.

Later that evening, Perrin had already regained his positive vibe. "After dealing with the stress and difficulty of having to clean out Dizzy's belongings under the gun in a couple of hours--the image that stays with me, swirling through my tired head--is the smile on Daniel's face as we drove up to deliver Dizzy's beautiful grand piano for him to enjoy (for however long), in his very own little cave," Perrin said, adding, "This amazing piano carries the inspirational vibe of all the world class musicians that have made music on it over the years."

Indeed, an astonishing list of pianists have created in the moment on the instrument: Jean-Michel Pilc, Eric Reed, Bill Mays, Gerald Clayton, Helen Sung, Anthony Davis, Joshua White and Satoko Fujii, to name just a few.

For now, Perrin will continue to book some Dizzy's events at 98 Bottles, but as noted San Diego bassist Rob Thorsen, who has played more than 100 dates at the club observed, "98 Bottles is kind of small. You won't get those big Dizzy's crowds we had for some of the larger drawing shows."

Perrin is actively searching for a new home for Dizzy's and he has already investigated several potential spots from Downtown to North Park and Pacific Beach.

Dizzy's was always more of a spirit than a physical space anyway, and as physical spaces go, the SDW&CC had its drawbacks. "It wasn't a perfect room, acoustically--but it had a great piano, which is sort of the centerpiece of any jazz venue," says Thorsen.

I asked a couple of San Diego jazz musicians what they thought about the loss of the venue, the future of Dizzy's, and Chuck Perrin in general.

Peter Sprague pointed out, " The big reason why it works is because Chuck Perrin is the visionary avatar driving the chaos. His passion for music and his quest to set up a space where 'music matters most' is why some of the most magical notes played in town have taken place there. I know he's on the move to find a new spot and I'm confident it will work out because he knows the nuts-and-bolts of what it takes to let music happen."

Thorsen agrees, "It's a setback for him, but he's managed this kind of thing before [moving], and he's a really positive individual. I know he'll be back at it soon," said the bassist by phone.

"I'm confident that it is for the best," said Perrin, "I've learned, over the years, to trust my instincts. I think there is a better, more focused scenario for Dizzy's on the horizon, something closer to it's original concept of a safe haven for music outside the norm of commerce, pretense and fabrication. And I'm willing to do my time in limbo until I find it."

"Long live Chuck Perrin and long live Dizzy's !," declared Sprague.

Amen.

Photo of SD Bass Summit @ Dizzy's by Jin Yang

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On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the one-man cultural juggernaut behind San Diego's most vibrant jazz venue, Chuck Perrin, received an e-mail from a San Diego Wine & Culinery Center Sales Consultant informing him that the grand piano loaned to him by Hiroyuki Ikezi, (long-time jazz patron), needed to be moved immediately. He was given a two-hour "window" on Wednesday or Thursday to accomplish this.

Image

Think about the reality of that mission. Perrin would have to arrange for professional piano movers to, on virtually zero notice, remove the instrument, then arrange for storage, then reverse the process in the following week to accommodate its availability for the next scheduled Dizzy's concert at the SDW&CC, which he's been operating out of since the original Dizzy's had to move from the Culy Warehouse in 2007.

Perrin had been uncomfortable with the arrangement with the SDW&CC for the last couple of months--it had become harder and harder to schedule concerts as the venue expanded its corporate event rental mission in the emergent economy.

Dizzy's had already been shuttling some of its productions to San Diego's newest jazz spot, The Back Room @ 98 Bottles on Kettner in Little Italy--but the last minute demand to remove the piano was a blow he hadn't bargained for.

Perrin decided that he needed to find a new home for Dizzy's under those circumstances. So, on Thursday morning, he and a few friends managed to load up the Baldwin grand piano, the public address system and the iconic "Dizzy's--where the music matters most," sign into a truck, never to return.

As he rolled out the last piece of equipment on a dolly, Perrin crooned, "I'm free," but it wasn't as much a sign of jubilation as a voice of weary relief for having pulled it off logistically under highly pressurized circumstances.

Luckily, after making several phone calls to local musicians, Perrin found a temporary home for the instrument at the house of tenor saxophone legend Daniel Jackson, who was able to clear enough space to accommodate the piano. Jackson is a fine pianist in his own right, and had been using an old, battered upright for years.

Later that evening, Perrin had already regained his positive vibe. "After dealing with the stress and difficulty of having to clean out Dizzy's belongings under the gun in a couple of hours--the image that stays with me, swirling through my tired head--is the smile on Daniel's face as we drove up to deliver Dizzy's beautiful grand piano for him to enjoy (for however long), in his very own little cave," Perrin said, adding, "This amazing piano carries the inspirational vibe of all the world class musicians that have made music on it over the years."

Indeed, an astonishing list of pianists have created in the moment on the instrument: Jean-Michel Pilc, Eric Reed, Bill Mays, Gerald Clayton, Helen Sung, Anthony Davis, Joshua White and Satoko Fujii, to name just a few.

For now, Perrin will continue to book some Dizzy's events at 98 Bottles, but as noted San Diego bassist Rob Thorsen, who has played more than 100 dates at the club observed, "98 Bottles is kind of small. You won't get those big Dizzy's crowds we had for some of the larger drawing shows."

Perrin is actively searching for a new home for Dizzy's and he has already investigated several potential spots from Downtown to North Park and Pacific Beach.

Dizzy's was always more of a spirit than a physical space anyway, and as physical spaces go, the SDW&CC had its drawbacks. "It wasn't a perfect room, acoustically--but it had a great piano, which is sort of the centerpiece of any jazz venue," says Thorsen.

I asked a couple of San Diego jazz musicians what they thought about the loss of the venue, the future of Dizzy's, and Chuck Perrin in general.

Peter Sprague pointed out, " The big reason why it works is because Chuck Perrin is the visionary avatar driving the chaos. His passion for music and his quest to set up a space where 'music matters most' is why some of the most magical notes played in town have taken place there. I know he's on the move to find a new spot and I'm confident it will work out because he knows the nuts-and-bolts of what it takes to let music happen."

Thorsen agrees, "It's a setback for him, but he's managed this kind of thing before [moving], and he's a really positive individual. I know he'll be back at it soon," said the bassist by phone.

"I'm confident that it is for the best," said Perrin, "I've learned, over the years, to trust my instincts. I think there is a better, more focused scenario for Dizzy's on the horizon, something closer to it's original concept of a safe haven for music outside the norm of commerce, pretense and fabrication. And I'm willing to do my time in limbo until I find it."

"Long live Chuck Perrin and long live Dizzy's !," declared Sprague.

Amen.

Photo of SD Bass Summit @ Dizzy's by Jin Yang

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Under the gun for sure. Mr. Perrin is beloved by so many in this town for keeping Jazz alive! I know, with the support of all of us, he'll find the perfect spot. After all, he is the "visionary avatar driving the chaos." There are so many acoustically wonderful spots in this town. My vote is the Mason's place next to Claire de Lune :).

Jan. 30, 2012
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