Guitar Center NEWS  mentions United State Cafe

by Howard Segal

If you are a musician and looking for a responsive outlet for your music, Haight Street should definitely be one of your stops.

While it was only a few years ago one was hard pressed to hear live music on Haight, presently there are three locations offering live music six nights a week. From blues to folk to progressive rock to reggae it's happening on a street that got plenty of bad press in the late 60's. The Cat's Cradle, 1840 Haight St., is a fine boogie bar with a spaced out interior--literally stars painted on the walls. The dance floor is roomy and the ceiling is a parachute. Progressive rock bands such as Jumpin Jupiter and Sleeze gig there, as well as blues and rock bands. The owner, Ron Loomis, spoke enthusiastically about the Sunday night jams he has been running recently. One jam included Jerry Covington and Peter Albin from the old Big Brother.

Across the street from the Cradle lies the Omnibus Cafe. The Omnibus offers a similar musical policy, but the dance area is cramped and the bands have little room themselves. Rodger Hansen, the bartender, told me that the bands have been getting better over the past few months. He went on to say that the climate for creative musical expression is fantastic on Haight St. right now.

Down the street from both of these clubs lies Minnie's Can Do. This old Filmore street ,-club features 'blues, jazz and reggae. Bluesman Dave Alexander's longtime spot light has been filled by Jean Desarmes and the Reggae Blues Band. This band played in Golden Gate Park last month.

Front of Gallery Faire and the United State Cafe featured in Guitar Center NEWS.

The most interesting place offering music on Haight Street is not a club, but is in fact, a cafe. The United State Cafe at 1538 Haight is a beautifully relaxing place where the concerns are spiritual in nature. The Cafe is dedicated to serving the arts. I spoke with Michael Delise at the Cafe, and he mentioned that they have presented everything from classical music to avant-garde jazz. One of the greatest benefits a musician can derive from playing at United State is that the people actually come to listen to the music. The intimate nature of the cafe allows communication between artist and audience.

"Many musicians while getting financially sustained at playing clubs, get spiritually sustained from playing at the cafe," said Michael. Some of the finest acoustic music being heard in the Bay Area is being created down at the United State Cafe. Michael said he feels there is a new wave of music being played in the city. One of the bands that is a part of this new wave is a progressive rock and roll band called Jumpin' Jupiter. The group is representative of the Haight Street scene because they are progressive and in transition, much like the Haight itself. Jumpin' Jupiter plays everything from' country-blues to jazz based complex musical statements. One such piece entitled "The Factory," has the drummer using gongs and bells to create the sounds of a steel mill or factory in full production. Then an alto sax builds into bluesy song about life in the factory. The band consists of Howie Hollenburg on drums, Jorden Ingram on sax, Larry Klein on bass, Kathleen McCarthy on vocals, [Rick (Sunny) McNees keyboards], and Larry Dunn on guitar. They now are down to five members marked by the departure of keyboard man.

Haight Street fell into gradual decline at the end of the last decade, but music is being heard again in the cafes and night clubs and the Haight revival has begun.

Howard Segal will be writing on a wide variety of subjects of interest to musicians. He urges your feedback and ideas for the benefit of the entire musical community. We welcome him to the Guitar Center News and look forward to his future work.

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