Jack's Basket Room

 
Performers at Jack’s Basket Room. Photo by Charles Williams via California State University, Northridge (1949)

Performers at Jack’s Basket Room. Photo by Charles Williams via California State University, Northridge (1949)

 

One of the legendary venues of LA’s Central Avenue Jazz Corridor, Jack’s Basket Room was a jazz club run by Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion. The club featured jazz as hot as its chicken, which was served until 2am, and it counted Charlie “Bird” Parker as one of its regulars.

In the decades following the club’s closure in 1951, it acted as a retail store and a poultry factory, before ultimately being left abandoned. The only remnant of the club was its motto, Cab Calloway’s lyrics “A chicken ain’t nothin’ but a bird” painted on the outside. It was sold to new owners around 2015 and, based on permits filed with the city, was demolished around March 2018. Although it was only open for a brief 12 year period from 1939-1951, it left an indelible mark on LA’s music and culture. Today, a lamp post marker is the only trace left of Jack’s Basket Room, which now sits as an empty lot.

 

All that remains of Jack’s Basket Room down on Central Avenue in South LA.