Concord Celebrates 50 Years of Jazz with Concert Series Aug 1-10

Salvio Pacheco Square in downtown Concord sits across from Todos Santos Plaza, which pulsates with everything from live Latin jazz to Concord’s world champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of jazz in Concord, and in a nod to the late Montclair and Concord Dave Brubeck is being celebrated Aug. 1-10 with Take 10 — 10 days of jazz events. – Photo Courtesy of Visit Concord


It was the first jazz standard in the country to sell a million records. Dave Brubeck’s syncopated 5/4-time hit “Take Five” is one of the most recognized songs in the jazz genre — but did you know Brubeck’s connection to Concord helped spawn the Concord Pavilion and the famed Concord Jazz record label?

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of jazz in Concord and in a nod to Brubeck is being celebrated Aug. 1-10 with Take 10 — 10 days of jazz events (see for more details). Brubeck was born in Concord (he later lived in Montclair, hence the connection to this column) and played his first piano recital at the city’s Masonic Temple, which now houses the Concord Museum and Event Center. Concord’s first jazz concert — with some of the biggest musicians of the time — was held in 1969 in what’s now known as Dave Brubeck Park.

With a name that literally means ‘harmony’, it’s not surprising Concord is a hub of live music today. Take Tuesday and Thursday evenings, for instance. Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza pulsates with everything from live Latin jazz to Concord’s world champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps. Vendors serve spicy ethnic dishes, and families spread blankets in a festival atmosphere.

And Concord has at least seven happy hours with live music, including a jam by local bands at Legends at Diablo Creek (Concord’s public golf course). Even the chic new shopping center, The Veranda, has as its centerpiece a Bellagio-style fountain that ‘dances’ to music every 30 minutes.

Want more information about Brubeck and Concord’s jazz history? The Concord Historical Society will host a Java & Jazz series July 27 and Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Brubeck’s newly updated web page is

Around town: Speaking of live music, the seasoned rock ‘n’ rollers that first met at Crogan’s in Montclair — The Marchmen — will play a gig July 13 at Monaghan’s on the Hill. The back courtyard is a fun place to hear live music, and you may want to try a most interesting libation — a shot of Jameson’s whisky with a side of pickle juice. I’ve only seen this concoction at one other bar, in Montana, and it’s actually delicious — and possibly good for you.

Email bag: Thanks to everyone who sends news tips and fun quips during these lazy days of summer. This column (now 15 years old) is meant to give you a voice and bring the community together. A recent column item missed its mark. What was meant to be a reader’s interesting observation about a neighbor’s creative use of duct tape for signage ended up offending some of you. I will do better to vet the tips readers share with me.

Summer tradition: Woodminster Summer Musicals kick off this weekend with the Disney hit ‘Newsies’. This production soars with its smash-hit music and the compelling tale of a band of orphan and runaway ‘newsies’ who went on strike in 1899 against several powerful newspaper publishers – including Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The show runs two weekends (through July 14). For the list of this summer’s productions and ticket information, visit

Ginny Prior can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at Email her at


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