Tag Archives: Masters of Persian Music

The Soul of a Man: Chester “CT” Thompson plays Berkeley

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Four decades is a long wait between albums, but Chester “CT” Thompson hasn’t been wasting his time. A rising Hammond B3 organ star on the chitlin’ circuit jazz scene in the late 1960s, he recorded his first album as a leader in 1971 for the Black Jazz label, Powerhouse, an LP that’s now a pricey collector’s item (listing for $175 on eBay).

When Thompson gained national notoriety with Tower of Power during its 1970s heyday he gave up his solo career, and went on to a quarter-century run with Santana from 1983-2009, including key contributions to the smash album Supernatural. Since coming off the road, he’s started to delve back into his original soul jazz bag, and he celebrates the release of his second album Mixology (Doodlin’ Records) Friday at Freight & Salvage.

“It’s a little different for me, but I’m having a ball,” Thompson said from his house in Millbrae. “Normally I’m in other bands as one of the supporting cats. I’m working with great players, and that says it all for me. We’ll be featuring cuts off the new CD, and maybe a couple of surprises.” … Continue reading »

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Meditating on Iran: Hossein Alizadeh and Pejman Hadadi

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At a time when unsettling rumors of impending war seem inescapable, there’s something altogether fitting about a concert presenting two giants of Persian classical music at a West Berkeley center for yoga and meditation. Tehran’s Hossein Alizadeh and Los Angeles-based Pejman Hadadi conclude a North American tour Saturday at the Rudramandir Center on Bancroft Way.

Alizadeh is best known in the West as a founding member of the Masters of Persian Music, an ensemble that has helped raise the international profile of Iran’s millennia old classical tradition. Hailed as his generation’s most vivid and eloquent instrumentalist, he’s a visionary composer, and virtuoso of the Persian plucked lute, or tar. In Iran, where the 1979 Islamic revolution led to a stark generational gap as older masters fled overseas, Alizadeh provides invaluable continuity as an artist steeped in the vast body of traditional melodies known as the Radif, a vocabulary intimately intertwined with the rhythms of classical Persian poetry. … Continue reading »

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