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Oakland jazz lover’s paradise taps Bay Area talent

OAKLAND — For more than two decades, Karen Van Leuven  and Robert Bradsby threw elaborate neighborhood parties featuring live jazz.

“We’d invite all our friends and neighbors, they would invite their friends, we’d hire a band and close off the street,” Van Leuven said. “He (Robert) would make wine in the garage, I would cook and we’d pass the hat.”

The Oakland couple’s events got so huge, they overpowered the quiet residential neighborhood off Piedmont Avenue. So, in late 2012, the husband and wife created a nonprofit and opened The Sound Room at 22nd Street and Broadway. The cozy 72-seat performance venue in Uptown has become one of the Bay Area’s primo spots to hear live jazz. Unlike Yoshi’s and SFJAZZ, The Sound Room makes it a point to showcase local artists.

“It is a gem of a place and I don’t know that there’s anything else like it, said Christine Harris, the former chair of the now-defunct Jazz Heritage Center in San Francisco and a longtime…

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