Keystone Corner
750 Vallejo

   Freddie Herrera had a crummy little club in 1969 when Nick Gravenities suggested to him that he should try adding live music.  Mike Bloomfield and most of the recently disbanded Electric Flag Band. came to play. They packed the little club and it really took off.  Elvin Bishop who had recently left the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and was forming his own band was looking for a place to play. Herrera gave him Monday nights and even served fried chicken. Monday night became a very happening scene. Neal Schon who later joined up with Santana and helped form Journey played with the band and The Pointer Sister from Oakland also started out there with the band as back up singers.

    Otis Redding came to play as well as the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Grateful Dead and Boz Scaggs who was a former member of Steve Miller Band. Also Merl Sauders and ex -Credence guitarist Tom Fogerty. Merle Sauders played the Haight Street Fair this year and sounded great.

    A couple of years later Herrera sold his North Beach club to Todd Barken, who changed it to a jazz club and featured many great Jazz musicans. Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. Rahsaan Roland Kirk cut his album "Bright Moments" there. Keystone gained a national reputation as one of the great Jazz clubs on the West Coast. McCoy Tyner, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and Miles Davis played there.

    The financial burden of supporting a full-time jazz club was just too much for Barkan. By 1983,he could not longer continue. He owed the IRS $50,000. in back taxes and when another benefit was produced for him by Bill Graham which featured Manhattan Transfer, Richie Cole,Jon Hendricks and Bobby Mc Ferrin was held and the proceeds came to just 1500 dollars. Barken, heart-broken, was finished and moved to New York.

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