Did you hear about Monday’s Berkeley High reunion at Freight & Salvage? It’s listed on the club’s calendar as a double bill pairing Peter Apfelbaum’s Sparkler and Natalie Cressman’s band, but the indefatigably creative Apfelbaum has essentially assembled a Yellow Jacket conclave with his new electronica-laced band, which features a multi-generational cast of Berkeley High grads and a couple of ringers from nearby. The group released an EP of shimmering dance music last year, I Colored It In For You (M.O.D. Technologies), which includes a remix by bassist and studio wizard Bill Laswell.
Being dubbed a genius isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Regina Carter, jazz’s most visible and celebrated violinist, found out about the downside of the vaunted designation when the MacArthur Foundation awarded her a coveted “Genius” Fellowship, which led to good natured ribbing from her husband, drummer Alvester Garnett, and the rest of her band.
It might seem strange to refer to Monday’s OMGG performance at Freight & Salvage as a reunion concert, given the quartet’s average age hovers around 18, but these bluegrass musicians have already logged a lot of miles since they last performed together four years ago. The moniker stands for Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl, and the quartet brings together young players who have established themselves as fully equal to the task of performing with veteran masters.
Though they’ve rarely received due credit for their contributions, black women played an essential role in building the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll, from Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Big Mama Thornton to Ruth Brown and Tina Turner. A talent-laden program at Freight & Salvage on Thursday, June 4, showcases the leading black women who are rockin’ and groovin’ the Bay Area today. Featuring the supergroup Skip the Needle, Sistas in the Pit, and Dolorata, the interlaced triple bill presents an array of musical approaches united by combustible energy, potent charisma and unapologetic genre mashing.
When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in town he joked around with Robert Reich and grabbed lunch with Cal Chancellor Nick Dirks among other things.
“Use your stature” to show leadership on inequality Robert Reich urged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at the conclusion of a conversation the two of them held in Berkeley today at an event partly sponsored by the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and the Economic Inequality Media Project.
SMUIN BALLET/UC ALUMNI CHORUS ONE NIGHT ONLY There’s a treat in store on Saturday when Berkeleyans have the chance to see the UC Alumni Chorus performing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana along with dancers from one of the country’s top-tier dance companies, Smuin Ballet. The program features three top Bay Area soloists: soprano Shawnette Sulker, tenor Brian Staufenbiel, and baritone Eugene Brancoveneau. Bawdy, irreverent and satirical, Orff’s Carmina Burana is a piece for all the senses. Based on 24 poems from the medieval collection of the same name, it is among the most often programmed and popular choral works of our time. The performance will be conducted by Dr. Mark Sumner, Director of the U.C. Choral Ensembles. Also on the program are choruses from Carl Orff’s Catulli Carmina, Carmina Burana’s rarely performed companion piece, and Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul. Carmina Burana is at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Way, Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets sold by section: Silver $40, Bronze $30 at www.brownpapertickets.com. UC Berkeley Student discount tickets available online. For more information visit: www.ucac.ne. (more…)
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).
SPRING EQUINOX AT CESAR CHAVEZ PARK Gather this evening at the Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar to celebrate the official arrival of spring. The event, led by Lori Lambertson of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, will include a discussion about the “reasons for the seasons,” the Chavez virtue of HOPE, and other global spring equinox celebrations. Dress warmly: the weather is part of the experience. Friday, March 20, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., sunset is at 7:15 p.m. Cesar Chavez Park, 11 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley. (more…)
Stephanie Crawford has performed at top jazz clubs in New York City and Paris, but since settling in the East Bay about 15 years ago she’s been one of the region’s best kept jazz secrets. In recent months lucky Cheese Board patrons have been privy to her vocal artistry (she’s there Thursday afternoon with pianist Joe Warner), but Crawford’s mainstay is the California Jazz Conservatory, where she returns 4:30 pm Sunday for a performance with Warner, ace bassist Ron Belcher, and versatile drummer Greg German.
Sisterhood isn’t just powerful it sounds hella good. Venues around Berkeley hardly need International Women’s Day (March 8) for inspiration to feature great female musicians, but from Freight & Salvage to R. Kassman Fine Pianos and Berkeley High there are numerous women-centric concerts and events taking place in the coming days.
As a singer/songwriter with a folky bent, Alexis Harte spent about a decade leading his own bands and taking care of all the details that entails. These days, the Berkeley-reared guitarist and vocalist has found an ideal partner in Oakland’s Damond Moodie, a soul-steeped singer/songwriter who’s also co-director of Pumpkin Seed Childcare.
Paul Hanson has spent much of his life taking the bassoon into realms where the horn has never before traveled. From world jazz and klezmer to funk and rock, the Berkeley native refuses to be bounded by the irascible double-reed’s traditional symphonic role. Based in American Canyon since the end of a four-year stint with Cirque du Soleil in Japan, he returns to town for a California Jazz Conservatory performance at 8 p.m. Friday with the duo Oon featuring the inventive electric bassist Ariane Cap.