Rocco Somazzi

Best Roving Jazz Club, August 2005
The best jazz club in L.A. is wherever Rocco Somazzi (323-804-4146) handles the booking on a given night. Live jazz starts with the unpredictable alchemy of an audience willing to take on the unexpected in a charged room—and then the music starts. That’s where Somazzi comes in. The 33-year-old takes risks, cares passionately about the performances, and puts good food out, too. He’s booked established stars such as Alan Pasqua and Kenny Barron, third-world experimentalists, and CalArts noise. He is the rare local booker who keeps jazz fans wondering what he’s going to do next. Somazzi follows his muse to a fault, which is probably why he’s singing God bless the child who’s got his own. Since he closed his way-ambitious Bel-Air restaurant-club Rocco’s in 2000, however, he hasn’t hunkered down, hasn’t sold out—he’s diversified. Right now Somazzi handles the jazz at Café Metropol , a yummy brick-walled room in an industrial part of downtown. He also organizes shows in the Gallery Theatre at Barnsdall Art Park. In a funny twist of fate, Herb Alpert has opened the club Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. on the Beverly Glen site of Somazzi’s old joint. The place has been getting a lot of attention but still is finding its footing. Here’s what the Grill needs: Somazzi booking the acts. »Café Metropol, 923 E. 3rd St., L.A., 213-613-1537; Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 866-881-8399.