Berkeley’s Jazzschool gets star treatment

A student performance at the Jazzschool

The San Francisco Chronicle gave Berkeley’s Jazzschool the star treatment on Sunday, devoting the cover of its pink arts section and seven articles to the 13-year old institution founded by pianist Susan Muscarella.

The Jazzschool, located in the basement of the old Kress dime store on Addison near Shattuck, matches some of the Bay Area’s leading artists with aspiring musicians and adults resurrecting long-held dreams of playing before a live audience.

In any given week, those students put on small performances in the school’s café-turned-performance hall. Just this past weekend, the Jazzschool hosted a group called Riff-Raff, the Joshi Marshall Project, and the Debbie Poryes Quartet. No ticket was more than $15.

“The Jazzschool has become a place where… you might hear the next Coltrane or Gillespie on a Sunday afternoon for the price of a latte, and where seasoned pros can polish their technique,” David Wiegand wrote in the Chronicle.


The roster of talented teachers includes pianist Taylor Eigisti, singers Pamela Rose, Calirdee and Kim Nalley, violinist Jeremy Cohen from the Turtle Island String Quartet and many more.

Susan Muscarella, Jazzschool founder

Two years ago, Muscarella, 60, started the Jazzschool Institute, a degree program offering a B.Mus in Jazz Studies. The Community Music School offers classes to youth and adults.

Read the Chronicle’s overview here, and read about Hermando Bosset, who runs the bookstore, vocal director Laurie Antonioli, percussionist Anthony Brown, who teaches a class on the history of jazz, and Brazilian bossa nova expert Marcos Silva. Here is a previous profile of school founder Susan Muscarella.