Filipino jazz returns to Fillmore

The San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival returns to the Fillmore for its fourth annual concert on Sunday, October 9, at 6 p.m. at Yoshi’s. Like last year’s concert, also held at Yoshi’s, this is a homecoming of Filipino jazz artists to the Fillmore, which once had a large Filipino population. Filipinos began settling in the Fillmore in the 1920s, some as war brides of African American Buffalo Soldiers returning from the Philippine-American War. Filipino men also settled in the Fillmore, owning businesses and raising families.

During the time the Fillmore was known as the “Harlem of the West,” a number of Filipino American jazz artists performed regularly in the Fillmore, most notably Joseph “Flip” Nunez, who was one of the house pianists at the legendary Jimbo’s Bop City. A brick marker on Fillmore Street near Yoshi’s honors Nunez. Another brick marker honors Filipino jazz poet Al Robles, an activist who was part of a large Fillmore family. Sugar Pie DeSanto — the internationally known blues singer and songwriter — also grew up in the Fillmore on Buchanan Street in a large Afro-Filipino family.