Desert Island Jazz
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  • Tom Madden (2009)

    (Photo by Richard Mayer Photography)

    Go to a jazz gig in the San Francisco Bay Area and you're certain to see Tom Madden (if you don't, then it's not a real jazz gig). You can't miss him: after all, how many six-foot five-inch guys with a gray beard and pony-tail to match can there be?

    Tom's been taking in jazz gigs here and there ever since he was a small boy (well, a tall boy) in San Francisco, his favorite being the Black Hawk, whose food license permitted minors entrance. Half a century on, it's difficult to imagine that the house bands would be the likes of Cal Tjader and Dave Brubeck, although imagining the effect they would have on an up-and-coming jazz lover is easy.

    Moving from one occupation to another, the adult Tom eventually found his métier, working in record stores, again moving from one to another. Eventually he opened his own store, Jazz Quarter in the Sunset District of San Francisco (1260 20th Avenue).

    Described by Mark Levine in 'The Jazz Piano Book' as 'a walking discography', Tom is truly one of a kind, and is also one of a dying breed. Although he's still doing business in his home town, it's perhaps not as much business as he'd like. When you visit Jazz Quarter, you and Tom are likely to be the store's only occupants. But consider yourself fortunate: if he doesn't take to you, then Tom just might encourage you gently to leave; and if he really doesn't take you, then he might not let you in at all.

    (Tom Madden died in August 2010.)
    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Michel Sardaby Night Cap Traveling On (Sound Hills)
    # 2 Lou Donaldson Lou's Blues Roccus (Past Perfect)
    # 3 Don Lerman The Zoot Side of Life The Claw (New Charts Music)
    # 4 Marty Grosz At Bob Bernard's Jazz Party '99 Take Me to That Land of Jazz (Nif Nuf)
    # 5 Gérard Badini Swing Machine (LP) Cornet Chop Suey (Blue Star)
    # 6 The Anachronic Jazz Band Anachronic Jazz Band (LP) 'Round Midnight (Open)
    # 7 The Anachronic Jazz Band Anachronic Jazz Band II (LP) Giant Steps/Blues to Bechet (Open)
    # 8 Sebastian Whittaker and the Creators One for Bu Q-Solly (Justice)
    Book Sidney Bechet, "Treat It Gentle"
    Luxury Item Sacrapantina from Stella Bakery, North Beach
    Castaways by date
    Chris Amberger
    23 Jun
    Gerald Beckett
    01 Sep
    Buzz Brooks
    28 Apr
    Jarrett Cherner
    16 Jun
    Kev Choice
    30 Jun
    Anat Cohen
    28 Jul
    Natalie Cressman
    10 Feb
    Matt Eakle
    15 Dec
    Hershey Felder
    07 Apr
    Mitchell Feldman
    18 Aug
    Mike Galisatus
    03 Nov
    Aaron Germain
    06 Jan
    Robin Gregory
    17 Feb
    Tamir Hendelman
    13 Oct
    Kasey Knudsen
    17 Mar
    Matthew Montfort
    26 May
    Dan Montgomery
    06 Oct
    Andrea Motis
    21 Jul
    Ray Obiedo
    10 Mar
    Jayn Pettingill
    17 Nov
    John Pizzarelli
    25 Aug
    Sandi Poindexter
    24 Mar
    Don Randi
    20 Oct
    David Rogers
    24 Feb
    Eric Whittington
    29 Sep
    George Winston
    04 Aug
    Lizz Wright
    09 Jun
    Jason Yeager
    02 Jun