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About Us
another photo of monterey jazz festival arena About JazzWest.com
Welcome to the ONLY Website for Jazz in Northern California!

JazzWest.com, the largest independent website covering the Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area jazz scene, was conceived and launched in 1999 by Bay Area jazz journalist and photographer Wayne Saroyan.

The website was originally envisioned as early as 1997 as an online "portal" to all things jazz here in the Bay Area: a collection of local jazz news, artist profiles, concert reviews and more — an online jazz magazine, if you will — along with a comprehensive Directory of more than 600 local jazz musicians, all linked to JazzWest, and the region's most comprehensive calendar of live jazz events, from dinner jazz to the cutting edge in new voices and sounds at some of the area's premier music venues.

Over the years, features on the JazzWest site have risen and fallen with the challenges of building and nurturing an online community. At various times, the site has hosted discussion boards, free advertising (a la Craig's List), free music downloads from Bay Area and Northern California musicians, and even an online store where customers could purchase CDs from local artists (back in the day when people were buying CDs instead of downloading MP3 files). We've produced or co-produced live shows, hosted concert ticket and CD give-aways,

And now, 16 years in, it's time for yet another incarnation of the website.

The newly-completed Miner Auditorium at the SFJAZZ Center

Saroyan, who serves as Editor & Publisher of the website, is a journalist with more than 40 years of professional experience as a writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer, marketing pro, social media strategist and website builder; as a leader of web design teams for a series of Fortune 500 companies in the latter half of the 1990s, and as owner of his own small web design and strategy firm, The Content Design Group, he has built and managed more than 100 websites since his first site, for The Jazzschool (now the California Jazz Conservancy) in Berkeley, which went online in 1997 when the innovative school first opened its doors.

JazzWest is — and continues to be — as much a celebration of the music as it is a celebration of the talented musicians who comprise the Northern California jazz community. That sense of community is what JazzWest is hoping to create in a digital space... something started well before MySpace, and something that's lasted longer.

But perhaps 16 years as the largest, most popular independent website for Bay Area jazz wasn't a sure-fire guarantee that things would go on forever.

In May 2015, Saroyan was notified that the software used to build the previous iteration of the website was no longer supported by web hosting companies, and the site was targeted for catastrophic failure effective June 24, 2015. Given an impossible deadline of six weeks for a complete and total site redesign and rebuild, Saroyan had no option but to let the site "go dark" until a new design was developed and launched.

Fast forward to mid-September, a few days before the start of the 58th annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Following several weeks of long days and sleepless nights, a limited-content version of the new website was launched.

A strong visual now sensibility imbues the entire website, driven by Saroyan's concert photography, which now takes center stage after several years spent quietly improving his photographic skills. The other major component of the newly-imagined website is a greater commitment to original content: more news, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and topical blog posts. We'll also be slowly filling in articles and other content from our back pages (digitally speaking) as time and resources permit.

Digging the laid-back grooves at the 2014 San Jose Jazz Festival

Perhaps the deepest repository of content on JazzWest is our collection of more than 10,000 photographs capturing the live jazz scene here in the Bay Area over the past 15 or so years. We've been proud to showcase photos from such acclaimed Bay Area photographers as Ronald Davis, Stuart Brinin, and the late Chuck Gee, as well as occasional contributions from James Knox, Grason Littles, Brian McMillan, Katrina Verzosa, and many more talented photographers. We'll be gradually re-adding these extensive photographic archives to the website over the coming weeks and months. Our rather ambitious goal is to create a fully indexed, fully searchable archive of Bay Area jazz photography.

In the near future, JazzWest.com also hopes to partner with the fledgling Digital Music Project to create and sustain a free archive of Bay Area jazz-related resources for scholars, historians, or casual fans of the music and the scene.

So that's it... everything you ever wanted to know about JazzWest.com, in a nutshell. Still have questions? Drop us an e-mail and let us know what's on your mind. Thanks!

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