John Handy Tribute Ignites The Bay

Image © Walter Atkins The SFJAZZ Center ignited its Fifth Season celebration with two extraordinary weeks that included the Dr. Martin Luther King Day Open House and the star studded Zakir Hussain Gala Night. There were tribute nights this week for legendary drummer Tony Williams, prominent Bay Area saxophonist Joe Henderson, and the late inaugural SFJAZZ Collective member/vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The musical directors for each extra special performance were Cindy Blackman Santana, Joshua Redman and Stefon Harris respectively. Tonight's stellar tribute [...]

Denise Perrier Teaches Us Tonight

 Above Denise Perrier : Photo © Walt Atkins Denise Perrier Unforgettable, A Tribute to Dinah Washington Oct. 18, 2014 Joe Henderson Lab, SFJAZZ San Francisco’s own Denise Perrier recently treated her SFJAZZ audience to an exquisite evening of Dinah Washington classics in the very intimate Joe Henderson Lab. Her "Unforgettable, A Tribute to Dinah Washington” was presented with a graceful spirit. After the first song, Ms. Perrier removed her mink stole to get comfortable for the first of her sold-out shows. Her version [...]

The Stanley Clarke Band Gets UP at Yoshi’s SF

Above:  Stanley Clarke Photo: © Walt Atkins The Stanley Clarke Band Iconic bass virtuoso and composer Stanley Clarke brought The Stanley Clarke Band into San Francisco to kick off his international tour in support of his exciting new CD, UP.  Mr. Clarke immediately fired up the first evening set with the classic “School Days,” and his band was in full swing. During the show, The SCB performed four songs from UP: “ School Days," “ Pop Virgil," ”Last Train To [...]

Redwood City’s Salsa Festival 2014 Heats Up The Bay

Redwood City’s 7th annual Salsa Festival took place on Saturday, Sept. 27, under warm sunny skies. The marvelous free downtown event featured multiple stages showcasing Latin, salsa, and Afro Cuban Jazz music. We music fans are blessed to live in the Bay Area, where such a variety and quality of music happens every day. Saturday’s performing lineup included: Orquesta Soboriche, Ray Obiedo, Brian Andres, Edgardo Cambon and Sexteto LaTiDo, VibraSON, Ed Johnson & Novo Tempo. For this year, the Redwood [...]

A Day At The Monterey Jazz Festival 2014

Above photo: Booker T. Jones at the Monterey Jazz Festival  2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Sept. 20, 2014 Monterey County Fairgrounds The 57th annual Monterey Jazz Festival continues its rich tradition with the best in jazz and other genres performing at multiple venues. The 2014 MJF’s impressive artist lineup included Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, Booker T. Jones, Lisa Fischer, Gary Clark Jr., Ana Popovic, and Billy Childs with Shawn Colvin. Each of the artists I saw was spectacular for different reasons. Booker T. Jones : [...]

CD Review- UP By The Stanley Clarke Band

UP The Stanley Clarke Band Sept. 12, 2014 Rating: 5 Guitars out of 5    UP is the latest CD from the baddest bass player on the planet, Stanley Clarke. This is the first new recording by the Stanley Clarke Band since 2010’s The Stanley Clarke Band disc. The acclaimed bassist extraordinaire has hand-picked an all-star list of guest musicians to play with The SCB. According to the official Stanley Clarke website, the four-time Grammy winner is the “Liberator of the Electric and [...]

Miles Electric Band Sizzles at SFJAZZ

Miles Electric Band: Bitches Brew To Tutu Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 Miner Auditorium, SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco When the iconic Miles Davis again took American music into new directions with his groundbreaking album Bitches Brew, people took immediate notice of the jazz-rock fusion masterpiece. However, not all of Miles’ fans liked this pioneering blending of jazz with rock and African rhythms into a new, sometimes funky, concoction. I was one of the many who embraced the innovative sound of “Brew,” [...]

Sergio Mendes ’14 Grooves The Grove

  Sergio Mendes [ Above Photo:  © Walt Atkins ] Sergio Mendes '14 August 17, 2014 Sigmund Stern Grove, San Francisco   Brazilian bossa nova superstar Sergio Mendes and local Latin band LoCura performed at the 77th annual Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, Aug. 17. S.F.-based LoCura started off the afternoon of great music for a capacity crowd under San Francisco skies. The band is led by fiery vocalist Kata Miletich, and the seven-member group calls its special brand of flamenco, funk, and Cuban rhythms “Califas Flamenkito.” [...]

Editor’s Pick – For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters

  For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson Rating : 4 1/2 Guitars out of 5   On this new CD release, Mud Morganfield pays tribute and shows love to his father, legendary blues artist Muddy Waters. Listening to the Mud Morganfield and Kim Wilson CD, For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters, I was impressed with the energy of the first track, “Gone to Main Street." Mud’s deep bluesy vocals are richly supported with a solid [...]

Morris Day & The Time Party Like It’s 1984 at Yoshi’s SF

Photo: Walt Atkins Morris Day & The Time August 7, 2014 Yoshi's San Francisco Mr. Day asked "What time is it? " And it immediately became time to party with the irrepressible Morris Day & The Time at Yoshi's San Francisco. Yoshi's restaurant and club was absolutely packed for the Thursday night second show. The only thing louder than the booming funky rhythms in front of me were the screaming fans behind me. Morris and the fellas have aged well, and the power of [...]

Redwood City Blues Festival Rocks the Weekend

[above: Aki  Kumar Blues Band  Photo: Walter Atkins]  July 26, 2014 Courthouse Square-Redwood City, CA The 9th Annual Redwood City PAL Blues, Art & BBQ Festival took place under clear sunny skies at the city’s historic downtown Courthouse Square. This free festival ran two days, July 25 and July 26. Friday’s show featured Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers. Saturday’s all-day music lineup (in order of appearance) consisted of: Deeva & the Blazers Ms. Taylor P. Collins Tebo Golden State Lone Star Review with Anson Funderberg, [...]

Tommy Castro & the Painkillers Rock Oakland’s Annual Art & Soul Festival

Art & Soul Festival 2014 August 2-3,  2014 City Center, Oakland By Walt Atkins The 14th annual Art & Soul Festival lit up the heart of downtown Oakland last weekend. As usual, the festival covered a wide range of music, entertainment, art, and food. The multi-stage venue had blues, gospel, classic funk, R&B, Latin, spoken word, and All Styles dancing (jazz, hip-hop, battle dance). The A&S Festival prides itself on having something for everybody, and this year was no exception. SATURDAY On Saturday, the [...]