San Francisco’s Fillmore District—known as the “Harlem of the West” in the 1940s and ’50s—was once a cathedral of Jazz, its dozens of clubs inhabited by celestial beings such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker. Its heyday marked an important chapter not only in Jazz history but also in the Black American experience; its legacy lives on in the work of passionate artists who believe Jazz—its freedom, movement, and expression—is a state of mind, a way of life.

Heard in This Episode

(Songs popularized by John Coltrane and Miles Davis)
Mongo Santamaría: Afro Blue  
Bronisław Kaper: On Green Dolphin Street 


Jazz as a State of Mind: Michael Morgan, pianist Tammy Hall, saxophonist Jason Hainsworth, and San Francisco Principal Bass Scott Pingel and Principal Timpani Edward Stephan share how for them, the give-and-take of Jazz creates community and freedom of expression.


In collaboration with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, this interactive musical adventure and companion series features conversations and activities designed to guide curious users through the characteristics that shape musical styles explored in CURRENTS.

Featured in this episode: Scott Pingel and Soleil Ho

Here’s how you do it:

1. LISTEN to some of Scott Pingel’s and Soleil Ho’s favorite recordings in the playlist at right.
2. CREATE a new recipe using: stone fruit, an herb, olive oil, a starch, and cheese.
3. NAME your dish using a Jazz term (swing, riff, bebop, groove, hit, etc.).
4. SHARE your creation on Instagram or Twitter, using #SFSCurrents (your account must be public) or email [email protected].

We’ll be displaying the mouth-watering results here.


Tammy L Hall, piano

Tammy L Hall began playing the piano at age four, in Dallas, TX. Her early musical experiences helped form the triad of her core sound: a fusion of Jazz, Gospel, and Classical. After attending Mills College in Oakland, CA, she spent time living and performing in Brussels before returning to the Bay Area in 1989. She has since collaborated with leading artists including Mary Wilson, Kim Nalley, Marcus Shelby, Houston Person, David “Fathead” Newman, Pamela Rose, Queen Esther Marrow, Ernestine Anderson, and Regina Carter, among dozens of others. In addition to her work as a pianist, musician, composer, arranger, musical director, and conductor, she is an instructor at the California Jazz Conservatory, lead teaching artist for SFJAZZ, co-minister of music at Oakland’s Heart & Soul Center of Light, and she has worked with the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program. For more on Tammy L Hall, visit tammyhall.com.

Jason Hainsworth, saxophone

A native of Houston, TX, saxophonist/composer/arranger Jason Hainsworth has led his own quartet throughout the world; performed and recorded with Michael Dease, Johnathan Blake, Renee Rosnes, Randy Brecker, Lewis Nash, Glenn Zaleski, Tim Warfield, and Martin Bejerano; and toured as a member of Ed Calle’s Mamblue, Tito Puente, Jr’s. Latin Jazz All Stars, and Melton Mustafa Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Hainsworth’s albums include Kaleidoscope and his latest release,Third Ward Stories. He serves as Assistant Director of the Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM) program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For more on Jason Hainsworth, visit jasonhainsworthmusic.com.

Soleil Ho

Soleil Ho is the Restaurant Critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and is a co-host of its food podcast, Extra Spicy. She was previously a freelance food and pop culture writer, co-founder of the Racist Sandwich podcast, and restaurant chef. Learn more at soleilho.com.


CURRENTS is an exchange of ideas, a synergy of perspectives. Tap into the artists, organizations, 
and ground-level forces shaping and transforming the Bay Area community and the world.

Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era

Photo: A late night jam session at Bop City, mid 1950s. Steve Jackson, Jr.

Blue Soul, an album by Tammy L Hall

Third Ward Stories, an album by Jason Hainsworth

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