It Was the Piano

Perrin: “Wherever Dizzy’s is, they will come.”
  • Perrin: “Wherever Dizzy’s is, they will come.”

In January Chuck Perrin pulled his Dizzy’s jazz series out of the San Diego Wine and Culinary Event Center in the Harbor Club Towers downtown. “I got a couple of days’ notice that the piano had to be moved out.” It was the baby grand he’d been given as a loaner for concerts. When not in use it sat in a corner of the main room, which was now needed for an event. “And, I was told that if I didn’t get it moved out, they’d push it out onto the sidewalk.”

Perrin thought he’d found a home for Dizzy’s when he moved his operation into the roomy Culinary Event Center in 2007, although he’d been known to produce a show or two in the old Culy warehouse down in the East Village. He occasionally booked the Walter Keller warehouse right next door to the Culy as well in recent years, which is the space where Dizzy’s was founded in 1999. It was retrofitting that ended Perrin’s eight-year run there and forced him to relocate.

“But the piano,” says Perrin “was only the tipping point.” He’d felt some level of disagreement with the direction the Culinary Event Center was going in the months leading up to his departure. It all stemmed from a change-up in management after the more music-loving of the center’s partners left the business. As a result, Dizzy’s is once again looking for a home, but Perrin is optimistic.

“I think it’s good. I’m really looking forward to fine-tuning things and coming up with a plan that will be better for everybody.” For one, he’d like to find better parking. “For the musicians, it makes it so much easier if they can just pull up and unload. And,” he says, due to the moving target of downtown lot prices, “people sometimes paid more for parking than for a show.”

In the meanwhile Perrin has joined the recent exodus to San Diego’s new jazz hub: Little Italy. Consider that jazz entertainment can be had there four or five nights a week at Anthology, El Camino, the Spaghetteria, and in the neighborhood’s newest venue, 98 Bottles on Kettner.

“It’s really interesting,” says 98 Bottles co-owner Jill Mesaros, “that they all happen to be in the Little Italy neighborhood.” She and her husband Steve opened last September. “It was fortuitous for Chuck and us,” she says about the relocation of Dizzy’s, temporary or not. “It’s been good for us to have such talented musicians in our space.”

Perrin admits that he’d already been looking for another venue weeks before things unraveled at the Culinary Event Center (management did not return phone or email requests for comment).

“Wherever Dizzy’s is,” Perrin says, “they will come.”

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