New jazz club opens despite pandemic hurdles: ‘Failure was not an option’

Kimmie Horne, a descendant of the legendary singer Lena Horne, performed at a new jazz club in San Marco Saturday night.

If you aren’t familiar with the name Kimmie Horne, there’s a good chance you’d recognize her voice. She’s a descendant of the legendary singer Lena Horne, and she performed at a new jazz club in San Marco Saturday night.

The owner of that club, Breezy’s Jazz, which officially opened Thursday, said Saturday was an exciting night for her, as she’s working hard to keep jazz alive in Jacksonville.

“When you walk into Breezy, I want it to be an experience from the front door,” said owner Thea Jeffers.

The space the club had previous been in on Adam’s Street had become too small for what they were doing. They had simply outgrown it.

Though it was tough getting through the pandemic and opening the new place, the owner says ensuring jazz music remains alive is worth the fight.

“Breezy ‘s, throughout all the challenges that we still face today -- we made it happen,” Jeffers said. “Failure was not an option, so we just did whatever we needed to do to keep it moving.”

Jeffers credits jazz music to the survival of the African-American woman.

“If you think about black history, as an African-American woman and back in the day, we got through by listening to music. That kept us going,” she said. “So to me, that is where jazz and history of black history started. Considering everything that’s (been) going on in the last year, I think bringing jazz here right now and opening it to the public is the very best time. Jazz is an art that, if you don’t keep at it, it will disappear.

Jeffers said she believes Jacksonville loves jazz, with thousands showing each year for festivals.

" I want to keep jazz alive, so that’s why we created Breezy Jazz House,” she said.

Breezy’s is partnering with different organizations in the community, one of which is providing scholarships for children through jazz music.

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