Northside SF  

Jazz singer Jonathan Poretz plans to restore late-night life to a sleepy San Francisco
By Bruce Bellingham

photo: Peter Maiden
Bay Area-based singer Jonathan Poretz has selected the Rrazz Room as his launching pad to get San Francisco lovers of the Great American Songbook to stay out late, just as the grown-up locals did all those years ago. There was a time the City was known as a playground for night owls.

Starting Feb. 26, Poretz will bring his trio to the Rrazz for shows at 10:20 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of every month through June.

A native New Yorker who has been living in San Rafael for the past 10 years, Poretz misses the late-night energy that burns so incandescently at clubs all around Manhattan.

“San Francisco tends to go to sleep earlier than New York,” he says. “That’s why I like the Rrazz Room. It’s a great place to bring back those late-night lounge shows that were popular in the 1960s.”

Poretz says he hopes to entice singers and musicians to join him on stage after their gigs because there are so few places to perform these days later in the evening.”

“I sang at Shanghai 1930 for four years,” he says wistfully. “But the Shanghai has closed, as did Enrico’s, and so did Coda’s in the Mission district. At the Rrazz, I will provide a so-called ‘fourth set.’ That’s when the audience can get to hear the show after the show.”

His trio includes pianist Lee Bloom, Jeff Neighbor on bass, and Kent Bryson on drums, who also plays with Maria Muldaur and Kim Nalley at the Rrazz. (Speaking of Maria Muldaur, she will perform for one night, Sunday, Feb.13, 8 p.m. at the Rrazz; it’s her Valentine’s Day show. Most of us can stay up late that night, but you may send your camel to bed.)

Poretz has appeared as Frank Sinatra in the popular “The Rat Pack is Back” Vegas show that has toured the country. He also takes a 12-piece band out with him from time to time.

“It will be lots of fun,” says Poretz. “I love to banter with the audience.”

With mock sincerity, he adds, “I feel this is my civic duty to bring late-night shows to the local scene. I’m doing it for your children and for your children’s children.”

The American Dream still apparently lives.

Jonathan Poretz: The Rrazz Room, 222 Mason Street (at O’Farrell in the Hotel Nikko), 10:20 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 (and subsequent fourth Saturdays each month through June), tickets $25 at 800-380-3095,


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