Much like a jazz freestyle or an abstract painting, 57th Street Gallery evolved fairly organically: A lifelong art collector and jazz lover, owner Floyd Pellom reportedly founded the space with few ambitions — mostly, in fact, it was just as a means of storing and sharing his massive private collection of jazz-and-blues themed artwork. But now, 57th Street Gallery is a gem of the local jazz scene, hosting jam sessions and performances several nights a week and attracting high-profile local musicians like Khalil Shaheed, Howard Wiley, and Calvin Keys for regular gigs. The art side of the business has expanded, too, with rotating and permanent pieces spread out over two rooms. Some take the music theme literally — a series of portraits illuminates jazz greats like Lena Horne and Louis Armstrong in arresting blues and purples — while others just seem to complement the vibe in a more subtle way. Altogether, it's a multidisciplinary exploration of the jazz experience, broadly defined — not to mention a fresh, inventive take on what it means to be an arts space.
© 2017 East Bay Express