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Jazz Temple

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The Jazz Temple, one of Winston E. Willis’ first Cleveland business ventures, hosted many legendary acts during its short and influential run but SGS can not imagine a better lineup than Art Blakey and Red Foxx. The two teaming up on August, 1963 showcased two legends in their prime. For more information about the Jazz Temple check out this link. 

Source: Cleveland Call and Post. August 3, 1963. pg. 9A.

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4 Responses to “Jazz Temple”

  1. Pat Says:

    Thank you SO much for this blog! I have been reminiscing about this club for years, and people have thought I was exaggerating. I was a college student when it first opened, and it was one of the most popular venues around. Forget Leo’s Casino, The Jazz Temple had the legendary greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, The Ramsey Lewis Trio, Dave Brubeck, and others On one special night, my then-boyfriend and I saw John Coltrane, and I thought we had died and gone to heaven. It was awesome! The club also featured comics like Richard Pryor, and Dick Gregory, Redd Foxx and Bill Cosby as well. As an added bonus, the food was excellent as well. In those days, this type of jazz club was commonly known as a “coffee house”, and I recall vividly that the coffee they served as well as the burgers were excellent. Each time I attended, I was surprised to see that the owner, Winston Willis, actually greeted and interacted with the customers and made them feel welcome. I was struck by his charisma and I remember thinking that this guy really knows what he’s doing. It’s so nice to see that The Jazz Temple has not faded into obscurity.

  2. Bobby Says:

    OH WOW! What a blast from the past! My past! This place was the coolest. I was a college student during those days, and my girlfriend and I had some great times at “the temple” as we called it back then. In fact it was where I tought her to appreciate jazz with the help of some of the great jazz legends of all time. Trane, Miles, Diz, and even some great comics. The Jazz Temple was well run and managed and a great gathering place for jazz enthusiasts. It’s a wonderful memory for me, so thank you for remembering too.

  3. clevelandsgs.com » Blog Archive » Towne Casino Says:

    [...] three bomb attacks which were thought to have been racially motivated. Other clubs such as the Jazz Temple suffered similar bomb attacks and sadly the tradition of coercive violence continued on throughout [...]

  4. Alex Says:

    I was a college student and a frequent patron of the Jazz Temple back then, and I was amazed that anyone was able to get these world reknown jazz legends to come to Cleveland but somehow Winston Willis did it. Anyone black or white has to give kudos to this brilliant man for his showmanship and courage. There were rumors of bomb threats all the time, but we were young, and appreciating the jazz groove. The atmosphere was intimate, and friendly and there was a camaraderie among the patrons that was inspired by Mr. Willis himself as he personally engaged his customers and made sure they received quality service. I always thought it was shameful on the part of the Cleveland police that they provided so little protection. But knowing what I know today, I know why. But that said, the Jazz Temple was a great place for jazz lovers and I feel fortunate to have witnessed such legendary performers. Thanks to you for also remembering.


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