The speakeasy-style nightclub and music venue, which shut its doors in early January, has announced it will return next month after being sold to new owners.
A notice on Westside Blues, Jazz & More’s website states that the spot, located at 17045 N. 59th Ave. in Glendale, will “reopen sometime in February under new ownership” after undergoing renovations.
The news comes just over two weeks after current owners Paul Vincent Perez and Cindi Jackson shut down the two-year-old nightclub and venue on Jan. 7 following a performance by Sandra Bassett and September Soul.
At that gig, Perez told Phoenix New Times he was searching for new owners for Westside Blues, Jazz & More and predicted its closure “probably wouldn’t last forever.”
“This is not the end, not even close,” Perez said on Jan. 7. “Someone is going to come along and take it over and I'm not going anywhere until I can find the right person.”
Perez found someone worthy of taking over Westside Blues, Jazz & More, a “bucket list” project he and Jackson spent years creating.
A ‘Chicago-style speakeasy type of place’
Westside Blues, Jazz & More debuted in April 2021 after Perez, a local entrepreneur, dreamed of opening a “Chicago-style speakeasy type of place” for decades. He’d been a jazz and blues fan since the 1970s and was fascinated by the idea of owning a nightclub.
“I had an entry on my bucket list for 25 years about opening a little blues and jazz bar,” Perez says. “I didn't know when, I didn’t know where. It was just something I wanted to do.”
After retiring in 2019, Perez began making his dream a reality. He discovered a vacant space at Glendale Market Square shopping center on Bell Road and 59th Avenue next to Tim Finnegan's Irish Restaurant and Pub. He partnered with Jackson, his girlfriend and the niece of legendary local jazz/big band saxophonist Lou Garno, and began designing and building the club from scratch.
Over the next several months, the couple spent an estimated $500,000 to create the speakeasy-like space, which features great acoustics, plush seating and a large stage area backed by a red brick wall.
Then, the pandemic forced Perez and Jackson to delay opening the club.
“We’d finished interviewing employees to work and all that was left was buying booze when we got a notice saying we couldn't open up,” Perez says. “I thought, ‘Oh no, I just put a shitload of money into this place and I'm ready to open. What now?’”
Perez and Jackson weathered the pandemic, however, opening a year later as Westside Blues & Jazz with a performance by iconic Arizona bluesman Big Pete Pearson.
He’d become the first of many local artists to perform at the club, which has since been renamed Westside Blues, Jazz & More.
‘A place called home for musicians’
The club has become a go-to spot in the West Valley for jazz, blues and R&B musicians. It’s hosted performances by a variety of renowned local artists, including legendary bluesman Chuck Hall, famed jazz drummer Lewis Nash, all-female trio We3 and New Orleans-style groove and soul band NOLAZ.
Meridith Moore, vocalist for Phoenix blues/roots ensemble The Sugar Thieves, also swears by the club, calling it their “regular westside gig.”
Keyboard player Kaelin Porter, who has performed with Sandra Bassett and other artists, says Westside Blues, Jazz & More has become a staple of Phoenix’s music scene over the past two years.
“The place, the atmosphere and the people [at the club] make you feel welcome and they make you feel like family,” Porter says. “They provide a place called home for musicians.”
Local artists haven’t been the only ones finding their way to Westside Blues, Jazz & More. General manager Channing Pickett says new people are constantly coming into the club after learning of its existence.
“Every week somebody stops in that hasn't heard of our place before and they want to come back,” Pickett says. “You generally don't hear a lot of blues music on the radio these days, so it's cool to introduce people to it.”
Perez says seeing new people discover what the local jazz and blues has to offer is one of the many things he’ll miss about owning the nightclub. “There’s a lot I'm going to miss. There’s a big part of me in there,” he says. “I’m really going to miss coming down here at night and listening to great music.”
Perez says he’s ready to move on, though.
'We will see you when we see you'
In December, Perez and Jackson sent a message to the local bands and musicians who performed at the club announcing it would close on Jan. 7. (It was later posted to Facebook by Bassett and others.)
“With much sadness and a heavy heart, we will be closing our doors at Westside Blues, Jazz & More,” the message read in part. Perez and Jackson also thanked the club’s patrons and staff for their support and ended with “We will see you when we see you.”
Perez told New Times the closure and sale of the Westside Blues, Jazz & More was due to health concerns and an impending move to Portugal.
“It’s not for financial reasons. I had some health incidents last November and I'm 68 years old and I've got other shit I want to do. Plus, I'm moving to Portugal,” Perez says. “So everything came together and the end of the year seemed like the perfect time to step away.”
Perez says that he’s confident that the club’s new owners will carry on the legacy of what he and Jackson created.
“You never know how these things turn out, but I have a great feeling somebody else is going to keep things going here,” he says.