San Diego's jazz scene is surprisingly poppin'. I say "surprisingly" because whenever I think of jazz, or, rather, good jazz, I imagine it happening in cool underground nightclubs full of cigarette smoke and old men drinking scotch. But thanks to talented local jazz musicians who continuously put on awesome concerts, we get to enjoy great tunes without clogging our lungs with cancerous garbage. And there's usually at least one drunken old man hanging around.

For instance, Old Town's Cosmopolitan Hotel (2660 Calhoun St.) holds the Cosmo Jazz Showcase every Friday night. On May 17, trombone virtuoso Scott Kyle will join the house band for a night of brassy goodness. Kyle, currently working on a master's degree in jazz studies at SDSU, has played alongside jazz legends like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson. He'll flex his jazz muscle from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Legendary Downtown jazz bar Croce's is closing up shop this year but that doesn't mean Jim Croce won't continue to be appreciated in the jazz scene. In fact, 98 Bottles (2400 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy) will host two shows devoted to Croce, as well as James Taylor, on Friday, May 17, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Guitarist Fred Benedetti, his daughters Regina and Julia and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pekarek will pay a jazz-infused tribute to the singer-songwriters in the bar's Back Room. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the night-of.

Just like James Brown was the "hardest working man in show business," there are a few local jazz musicians who perform so often that not even The Godfather of Soul could keep up with their schedule. Check out three of them at Dizzy's (4275 Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach) Saturday, May 18, when The Rob Thorsen trio hits the stage. Thorsen, pianist Joshua White and drummer Duncan Moore are regulars in the local jazz scene. On this night, they'll celebrate the release of their album, LIVE! The show starts at 8 p.m., and there's a $15 cover. 

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