John Noga

John Noga, owner of two internationally known jazz clubs in San Francisco, the Blackhawk and the Downbeat, died Nov. 9 of natural causes at his home in Studio City. He was 83.

Noga was a club owner for over 14 years, and saw jazz legends Billie Holliday, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington pass through his doors. Many musicians recorded albums and had jam sessions at the Blackhawk, including Dave Brubeck, Shorty Rogers and Cal Tjader.

His wife, Helen, discovered Johnny Mathis at the Blackhawk, and helped launch his career.

Noga later sold the Downbeat and his interest in the Blackhawk to George and Max Weiss, owners of Fantasy Records.

In addition to his wife, Noga is survived by his daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.

The family requests that donations in Noga’s name be made to the trust funds of his great-granddaughters.

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