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Tag Archives: Birdland Jazzista Social Club
April 9, 2015 7:00 am by Andrew Gilbert
Fresh out of Berkeley High in the summer of 1979, Dan Wilensky had to make a fateful decision. The prestigious Eastman School of Music was offering a full scholarship at the same time that the Ray Charles Orchestra came calling for the young saxophonist. Wilensky chose Charles, and the gig turned into a six-month bandstand education that launched a gloriously diverse and insistently creative career. He returns to town next week for a series of gigs, making his first Berkeley appearances as a leader since heading to New York in 1980. Appropriately, he kicks off the run at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Freight & Salvage, performing as a special guest with the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble and Berkeley High Combo A (which just earned top honors at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2015 Next Generation Jazz Festival).
“I’ve played in the East Bay as sideman over the years with artists like Stevie Winwood and Joan Baez, but this is the first time I’m coming back under my own name,” says Wilensky, who relocated to Portland, Oregon in 2012 after three breathless decades on the New York scene. “I’m really excited to go back to Berkeley High to play and work with the students and tell them some stories about the life of a working musician.” … Continue reading »
March 14, 2014 3:00 pm by Tracey Taylor
LA BOTELLA REPUBLIC La Botella Republic, a wine shop and tasting studio which we tipped you about in August of last year, is set to open in mid-April at 2055 Center St. (on the street level of the Berkeley Central building) in downtown Berkeley. Owners Christopher Clarke and Lauren Brody-Clarke, a husband-and-wife team, are in full countdown mode, including hiring staff. The pair describe La Botella Republic as “a down-to-earth spot where enterprising East Bay locals can learn more about California’s outstanding local wines by taking a virtual tour with their taste buds. Our wine bar and shop will offer a curated selection of premier NorCal wines and beers to pair with clever, seasonal bites in our tasting studio. Regular special events and workshops with guest chefs, sommeliers, vintners and others will expand and refine the horizons of wine and food pairings for the people of Berkeley.” Clarke was formerly a design director at the Food Network, and Brody-Clarke is an actress who most recently managed a wine shop. The couple, who hail from Brooklyn, have an affinity with Berkeley, Clarke told us last year. He studied at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco and lived in the East Bay, and his family lives here. He cites many reasons for choosing their new location: likeminded folk who love good food, the proximity to wine country, and the accessibility of downtown. Connect with La Botella Republic on Facebook for progress reports and details of the positions they are looking to fill. … Continue reading »
December 10, 2012 2:30 pm by Emilie Raguso
The story of a controversial community artist and jazz event organizer will come to an end later this month, at least locally, with the relocation of Birdman Mike from Berkeley to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Or you may have heard about his efforts organizing Birdland Jazz, aka the Birdland Jazzista Social Club, which Berkeleyside has been covering over the past two years. The jazz and barbecue event, which Parayno says drew world-class performers the likes of which also perform at venues such as Yoshi’s, started in Parayno’s garage before moving to Café Yesterday in 2011.
Both efforts have fierce devotees as well as passionate detractors. Critics have pointed out Parayno’s lack of concern for municipal codes, while supporters argue for his unique contributions to community life. … Continue reading »
October 28, 2011 2:30 pm by Sarah Henry
When Midwest transplant Ryan Brinson recently set up shop in Berkeley, he thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Well, that might not be how Brinson, an ordained minister, would characterize it. But the rock and roller with religious roots definitely felt like he had come home.
Brinson, a keyboard-playing long-time preacher in San Diego, decided to switch gears and locations to open Café Yesterday, a nonprofit java joint with a charitable and compassionate community approach — as one might expect from a man of the church. … Continue reading »
August 26, 2011 12:00 pm by Sarah Henry
Late last year Michael Parayno, the founder of arguably the hippest garage jazz club and barbecue joint in town, was having some serious run-ins with the city — as first reported on Berkeleyside.
Parayno was operating a very popular supper club, then called the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz, out of his Sacramento Street residential address across from North Berkeley BART. Almost 150 people commented on the three posts we wrote about his situation, the vast majority … Continue reading »
June 30, 2011 6:00 am by Guest contributor
By Andrew Gilbert
When it comes to funk, less is often more. The band Mo’Fone puts that insight into insistently syncopated practice on just about every piece. Led by El Cerrito drummer Jeremy Steinkoler, Mo’Fone, which performs a late set Friday at Michael Parayno’s singular Birdland Jazzista Social Club, is a stripped down combo featuring Larry De La Cruz on alto sax, clarinet and flute and Jim Peterson on baritone sax and bass clarinet.
Veteran reed players with extensive jazz and R&B credits, they seamlessly shift roles on each tune, sliding from riffing support to propulsive solos. Somehow, the trio captures the kinetic power and sonic punch of a funk horn section and a brass band, but distilled to its essence.
The band’s first album, 2003’s “Surf’s Up,” introduced Steinkoler’s surprisingly effective minimalist concept. As impressive as its full sound was the trio’s intriguing repertoire, which ranged from “Black Market” by the fusion supergroup Weather Report, and “African Market” by South African piano legend Abdullah Ibrahim to Earl King’s Mardi Gras classic “Big Chief.” … Continue reading »
December 14, 2010 1:50 pm by Sarah Henry
Many Berkeleyside readers have weighed in on the fate of the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz evenings hosted by Michael Parayno out of his garage at 1733 Sacramento Street, across from North Berkeley BART.
Here’s an update:
Last Thursday, December 8, Parayno received a Notice of Violation from the Code Enforcement Unit of the Office of the City Manager.
The document lists eight code violations, including a lack of a special-event permit, loud and unruly gatherings which … Continue reading »
December 13, 2010 10:24 am by Tracey Taylor
On December 10, we published a story by Sarah Henry on Multi Culti Grill Birdland Jazz, an informal BBQ supper club run by Michael Parayno, who is also known for his artisan birdhouses. The city is threatening to close down the Grill for code violations. Many readers left comments on the article expressing their support for the initiative which, they said, has brought a great sense of community to this north Berkeley neighborhood. Mike himself sent in … Continue reading »
December 10, 2010 10:00 am by Sarah Henry
At press time, the Multi Culti Grill and Birdland Jazz, the city’s only underground BBQ and jazz joint is retreating from its street-front presence in North Berkeley and morphing into the more clandestine Birdland Jazzista Social Club. This, says its founder, is to circumvent city action to shut down the nascent nightclub for code violations — including a lack of a special-event permit.
For those not in the know, the spontaneous community chow and music spot has been a happening Friday night attraction in a converted garage for seven months now.
The brainchild of artist Michael Parayno, better known as the Bird Man for his one-of-a-kind rustic birdhouse creations made from recycled materials, the grill-and-groove venue has been bringing a little cultural nightlife to an otherwise sleepy stretch of Sacramento Street opposite the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »