By 2015, Doc Watkins, a swinging and versatile pianist, was leading a straight ahead jazz trio that had become very popular in San Antonio. “We had developed a very large following within a matter of just a few short years and were moving around a lot, playing different clubs and restaurants while taking the audience with us. More and more people were suggesting that I open my own club because Jim Cullum’s The Landing had closed and there really was not a leading jazz club in town. I wasn’t sure at first but I had enough people in both the music and restaurant industries telling me that I would be great at this, so one day I decided to take the plunge.”
As with any jazz club, Jazz, TX had its ups and downs in its early days along with some growing pains. “Our original goal was that I wanted to open up one of the very best jazz clubs in the world. That goal soon became a bit more realistic, to do a good enough job so we could keep it open and be successful. There are always things that one does not know when they get into the business, and of course we made some mistakes along the way. There were long hours of hard work but the most important thing was that we learned from our mistakes and have always worked to improve the experiences of our customers.”
One of the most consistent qualities of Jazz, TX is its positive energy and feeling of community. “Seeing music should be a joyful occasion. We want to have a feeling of celebration with the audience and the musicians being happy. A lot of restaurants fight to survive by being open more hours, trying to get profitable through volume. In our early days we were a lively but noisy bar and restaurant with music for 7 or 8 sets a night. But we eventually realized that the way to succeed is through quality rather than quantity. Now all of our shows are ticketed, we have 90-minute shows, and the audience is more appreciative of the great music.”
Jazz, TX is located in the basement of the Bottling Department at the historic Pearl Brewery (312 Pearl Parkway, Bldg. 6, Suite 6001, San Antonio, TX, 210-332-9386). It is open 6 – 10 PM, Tuesday through Thursday, 6 PM – 12 AM on Friday and Saturday, and occasionally open for special shows on Sundays. In addition to the music, there is dancing and a full kitchen featuring South Texas cuisine, cocktails, wine, and beer.
Jazz, TX hosts seven shows a week with one show on Tuesday-Thursday and two apiece on Friday and Saturday. The music includes jazz (both modern and New Orleans style), blues, big bands, Texas swing, salsa, and Latin jazz. Doc Watkins performs at Jazz, TX between one and five shows a week, usually with his trio or his ten-piece orchestra including around 30-35 Christmas shows. A partial list of the world-class talent that has performed at Jazz, TX includes guitarist Kevin Eubanks, pianist Bill Charlap, trumpeter-singer Benny Benack, the Kenny Garrett Quintet, John Pizzarelli, singers Curtis Stigers, Jane Monheit and Renee Olstead, the Brian Blade Fellowship, Gerry Gibbs’ 11-piece Thrasher People, the Dirty River Jazz Band, bassist Eddie Gomez, and the Chris Potter Trio along with many top local players.
How did JazzTX become the premier destination for live music in San Antonio? For starters, our carefully curated selection of musical talent! With an incredible lineup of musical artists from all around the world, you won’t find a better spot to enjoy live music in San Antonio. Whether you’re in the mood for jazz, salsa, Texas swing music, salsa, or even Latin jazz, you’ve found it all right here.