After nearly eight years of hosting jazz greats such as Les McCann and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Birdland West owner Al Williams is putting his Long Beach nightclub up for sale.
In February, Williams filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal Bankruptcy Act to reorganize his debt. Then last month, Williams said, he decided to sell the business.
Williams said his club, like many local businesses, is a victim of the poor economy. Recently, ticket sales have dropped and the cost of booking well-known bands has risen. Despite the drop in sales, Williams said he has declined to lower ticket prices, which average about $15.
"I don't see enough people to hire the acts I wanted to hire," Williams said.
Williams, a 51-year-old drummer, said he is also finding the task of running the club too demanding. He said he wants to focus on playing with his own band, the Jazz Society, once the sale is complete. He declined to discuss possible buyers but said he hopes to find one who will maintain the club's jazz atmosphere.