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All That Jazz

Cool thing you can do when you’re the National Museum of American History? Designate the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month! In that spirit—and before the curtain falls on this springy, swingy month—here’s our list of favorite places to slip into a musical reverie.

Gilbert Castellanos

1. Courtesy of JAM, here’s your plans for this evening (aka tonight, April 24!): the 11th floor of Hotel La Jolla, that stunning ocean view, and local legend Gilbert Castellanos and his his quartet performing at Cusp Dining & Drinks. While Castellanos’ trumpet wails, the sexy dining room transforms into a supper club serving a prix-fixe Mediterranean menu ($65) from Donald Lockhart that includes brown butter local halibut with fava bean hummus, or a ricotta herb polenta gratin with braised artichokes, escarole and olives. To pair, it’s classic cocktails from Chris Burkett putting you right into the swing of things. Reservations are a must and can be made up through 5pm tonight. Scat! 7995 La Jolla Shores Dr, 858.551.3620

2. Another local legend, Karl Denton—one of our April Men of Style—turned us on to Gilbert Castellanos’ Wednesday Night Jam Sessions at North Park’s whiskey-soaked hotspot, Seven Grand (Denton and his sax are frequent sit-ins). Cover-fee-free and with happy hour cocktails flowing from 5-8pm, a Wednesday night drop-in is a must. But keep the University Avenue club on your like list—its reputation is solid for bookings of other top talents as well. Like on April 25th, when San Diego-based Soul Organization entertains with soul, jazz and funky grooves. 3054 University Ave, 619.269.8820

3. After 30 years on the corner of 5th Avenue downtown, the closure of the Gaslamp Croce’s closure sent shock waves through S.D.’s music scene. Happily, Ingrid Croce kept part of the address—and all of the reputation—when she moved Croce’s Park West just up the street to its new Banker’s Hill digs, where you can throw down cocktails and spicy crackerjacks at the bar or dine on classic fare like wedge salads and roast chicken. Four nights a week, jazz bands and singer songwriters of all genres play the Ex Pat Room, the neighborhood’s new locus of cool. Tonight (April 24), it’s Besos de Coco, while Friday (April 25), Dave Scott & the New Side Quartet get down with Daniel Jackson. Saturday (April 26), it’s the Eve Selis Band and Sunday (April 27), Sene Africa. The month draws to a close with the Nathan Collins Quartet on Wednesday, April 30. 2765 5th Ave, 619.233.4355

4. The elegant Westgate Hotel keeps it consistent with impressive jazz acts on the regular in the intimate Plaza Bar. Gilbert Castellanos is again a main attraction, accompanied by a jazz pianist on Friday nights from 8-11pm. On Saturdays, Patrick Berrogain’s Hot Club Combo puts on a soothing performance, blending the jazz world’s Latin, European and Gypsy flavors. Consider April shows as your Westgate warm up, because the downtown stunner’s Sunset Poolside Jazz series launches June 5th. Set in a modern lounge on the swanky restyled rooftop, poolside guests will enjoy live entertainment with 360-degree views, while taking sophisticated sips from their craft-cocktail, beer and wine selection. We’re, er, jazzed! 1055 2nd Ave, 619.238.1818

5. Jazz, steaks and martinis—is there a more perfect combination? We’re siding with Mission Hills’ The Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge and betting no. Wednesday and Thursday nights we’re down for the jewel-box resto’s swanky supper club, where it’s chef Karrie Hills’ pitch-perfect cooking, inventive Snake Oil cocktails (or a martini or three, natch) and an intimate live show featuring performers who are probably dining just a table away between sets. Wednesdays feature renowned San Diego guitarist, Fred Benedetti, and on Thursdays find performances from Sarah Maisel on the ukulele and Paul Tillery on stand-up bass. Talk about swing town! 729 Washington St., 619.295.6001