“Anna de Leon does not intend for her new jazz club in Berkeley to compete with high-end venues that feature big-name performers at relatively big ticket prices. ... “This is a listening venue for hearing local treasures,” said de Leon, a colorful and well-known Berkeley figure who has been a jazz singer, artist, liberal activist lawyer and local school board president. "I want this to be just a part of living, not someplace where you have to spend 100 bucks to go out.''
—Patrick Hogue, San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2005
“Anna de Leon is one of more beguiling - and moving storytellers I’ve heard in a good many years. ...A rather rare phenomenon in jazz, she is a club owner who, to say the least, identifies with the musicians. ... From the first track of “The Sweet Bittersweet,” it’s clear how Anna de Leon exemplifies what will keep jazz alive: so long as there are musicians who have the life experience to answer Duke Ellington’s song, “What Am I Here For?” They knew why, as Anna de Leon does, and now you can share her stories.”
—Premier jazz critic Nat Hentoff, New York City, 2005
“Anna makes good jazz a law. ... She was married to blues musician Taj Mahal and just became a Jeep-driving grandma. Anna has owned three night clubs, the third of which is Anna's Jazz Island at 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley, where she will be singing New Year's Eve. ‘What I love most is having a supportive environment for musicians,’ she said of her operating philosophy. ‘It's a listening venue for local musicians and not a club where you pick up dates at the bar.’ ”
—Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune, December 28, 2009
Anna’s Jazz Island is now closed. For the whole story, check out the website.