Tagged Lee Hildebrand

Sparks Fly at South Berkeley Jam Session

By Lee
Hildebrand

Fireworks filled the Bay Area sky on the Fourth of July, but inside Nick’s Lounge in South Berkeley, sparks were flying on the bandstand as alto saxophone great John Handy ripped through the chord changes of “All the Things You Are.” After his searing solo, Stephanie Crawford, a world-class vocalist who is better known in Paris than she is in the Bay Area, sang the melody in a deep, dusky contralto while Handy blew bopping obligatos behind her. The house rhythm section — drummer Randy Moore, bassist Michael Jones and pianist Spencer Allen — kept the swing groove at steady boil as the two guests jammed.
Nick’s, a historic bar that was once a hangout for retired Pullman porters, has become the local hot spot for jazz jam sessions since Moore began hosting them there last September. Besides Handy and Crawford, jammers in recent months have included saxophonist Pete Yellen, drummer Ron Marabuto and singer Robin Gregory. Music at the club, located at 3218 Adeline Street, begins at 6:30 p.m. every Sunday. With no cover charge, it’s probably the best Sunday jazz deal in the East Bay.
Some in the July 4 audience, mostly made up of stylishly dressed African American senior citizens, had been regulars three decades earlier at Mr. Majors in East Oakland, where keyboardist Ed Kelly ran Sunday evening jams that attracted top players such as his friend Pharoah Sanders. Read more

R&B Legend Harvey Fuqua Passes

By Lee
Hildebrand

Harvey Fuqua

Harvey Fuqua, one of the major behind-the-scenes figures in the history of rhythm and blues, died in a Detroit hospital on Tuesday, July 6. He was 80.
During a musical career that spanned six decades, Fuqua was the lead baritone vocalist with the Moonglows and mentor to and/or producer of such artists as Marvin Gaye, Etta James, the Spinners, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Tammi Terrell, David Ruffin, Stevie Wonder, New Birth and Sylvester. His hit compositions include “Sincerely,” “That’s What Girls Are Made For” and “Someday We’ll Be Together.”
“He had the eyes and ears for spotting a great artist a mile away,” said Terri Hinte, a publicist who worked with Fuqua in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when he was living in Oakland and producing Sylvester and others. “It wasn’t just a matter of getting an artist who could make it on a record. Nothing was going to happen beyond that if the artist wasn’t good on stage and didn’t have the whole tool kit in place.” Read more

“Jazz Professor” Bill Bell Rings in 74th

By Lee
Hildebrand

Bill Bell

Even though Bill Bell retired in 2001 after 31 years at the College of Alameda — the last 20 as chairman of the music department — lessons he taught there, as well as privately and at UC Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program and Stanford University, continue to inform the world of jazz. Among the nationally prominent jazz players who’ve benefited from the pianist’s deep knowledge of the idiom are trumpeter Jon Faddis and pianists Benny Green and Michael Wolff. Gospel great Daryl Coley also studied with Bell.
Other former students — trumpeter Geechie Taylor, saxophonists Dave Ellis and Anton Schwartz, pianist Glen Pearson and bassist David Daniels — will join Bell as guests when he celebrates his 74th birthday at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 12, at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Bell also will be performing with his Jazz Connections Quintet made up of saxophonist Charles McNeal, guitarist Brad Buethe, bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Deszon Claiborne.    Read more

Hildebrand Wins Press Club Award

The Press Club of the East Bay last week presented Lee Hildebrand with the second place award for criticism/reviewing for his writing in the Post.  First place in that category went to Tony Hicks of the Contra Costa Times and third place to Nate Seltenrich of the East Bay Express.
The presentation took place last Friday at the Silver Dragon restaurant in Oakland’s Chinatown. Hildebrand’s award was based on stories written for the Post in 2009 about veteran Oakland R&B guitarist and bandleader Johnny Talbot and the debut of Oakland-based Ethiopian vocalist Ada Kassaye.
“I am honored that the Press Club recognized my work for the Post,” said Hildebrand, who has covered music in Oakland for various publications since 1968. “And I am grateful that Post publisher Paul Cobb not only has encouraged me to write about African American artists who perform in a variety of styles, from jazz, blues, soul and gospel to country and old-time string-band music, but also about Mexican American and African musicians who contribute to making the Bay Area such a culturally diverse region.”

Perseverance Pays Off for Bettye LaVette

By Lee
Hildebrand

Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette had only one Top 10 R&B hit — “My Man — He’s a Lovin’ Man,” recorded in 1962 when she was 16 — but unlike many other singers of her generation who threw in the towel because they  were unable to sustain such success, she never stopped performing.
“As long as I’ve been in the industry, somebody has asked me to record or come and sing somewhere,” the Michigan-born vocalist, just back from a European tour, says by phone from her home in New Jersey. “It just wasn’t often enough, and it wasn’t big enough.”
Since signing with Anti- Records in Southern California five years ago, LaVette has again been attracting national attention, and she reached an international television audience of millions with her stunning duet with Jon Bon Jovi on Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” at President-elect Barack Obama’s January 18, 2009, inaugural celebration. And her new CD, “Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook,” released May 25, has drawn more critical acclaim than any other recording of her 48-year career. Read more

Soweto Gospel Choir Brings Messages of Hope to Oakland

By Lee
Hildebrand

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Soweto Gospel Choir. Photo by Lorezno Di Nozzi.

eing a member of the Soweto Gospel Choir has brought singer-guitarist Kevin Williams more closely in touch with the cultural diversity of his homeland than he was as a boy growing up in the South African port city of Durban under his country’s racist apartheid regime. Together only eight years, the 26-member, two-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble counts Oprah Winfrey and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among its fans. The singers now spend nine to ten months a year performing outside South Africa, blending their voices in glorious, multi-layered harmonies as they serve up religious and traditional South African selections — sung in six of the country’s 11 official languages, mostly in Zulu, Sotho and English — along with inspirational pop songs such as Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross,” Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubles Water.”
“We spend so much time together on the road that we’ve created a bond like a family,” Williams, 29, says by phone following a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. “We learn the different cultures and languages from each other. We don’t just learn how to speak them, but we also learn how to understand them.”
Originally formed at Holy Jerusalem Church, a Pentecostal congregation in the overwhelmingly black Soweto district of Johannesburg, the choir now includes vocalists from churches of several different Christian denominations from throughout South Africa. “Everybody goes to church,” Williams says. “We don’t have non-believers.”
The choir has specific criteria for choosing non-gospel numbers to include in its repertoire. “They’re songs that speak to the soul — songs that have a message that can relate to where people come from and to where people are at right now,” Williams explains. “It’s also the lyrics that bring a message across — a message of hope, a message of peace and a message of faith.”
South Africa has changed “drastically” for the better since the end of apartheid in 1994, according to Williams. “Change only means growth,” he says. “Where we come from is not who we are. As a nation, people are so excited that the past doesn’t have an effect on us.”
The choir solicits contributions while on tour for Nkosi’s Haven, a Soweto residential care facility for orphans, as well as children and their mothers, infected with HIV/AIDS. When they are back home in South Africa, choir members personally distribute food and clothing to residents. “We show them that they are not alone,” Williams says.
Concerts are divided into two segments: one in which the choir performs either a cappella or with the accompaniment of two djembe drummers, the other with support by guitarist Williams, a keyboardist, bassist and drummer. Currently on a three-month tour of the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean in support of “Grace,” their fourth CD for the Shanachie label, the singers will stop in Oakland on Saturday, March 27, for an 8 p.m. show at the Paramount Theatre.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Jeanie Tracy Steps Out As Mahalia Jackson

By Lee Hildebrand

Jeanie Tracy has spent much of her career in the shadows. Long in demand as a background singer, the Oakland vocalist has sung harmony on recordings behind some of the biggest names in the business, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Rod Stewart and Barbra Streisand, among them. And she has been featured anonymously on commercial jingles for AC Transit, Burger King, the California Lottery, Hunt’s Ketchup, Jack in the Box, Mazda, Nissan, Rice-A-Roni, Sizzler, Taco Bell and countless others.

Jeanie Tracy as Mahalia Jackson. Photo by Marc Paquette.

Tracy’s obscure early 45-rpm recordings — “Where Did You Come From?” on the L.A.-based Smogville label from the late ‘60s and 1974’s “Making New Friends” on Marvin Holmes’ Brown Door label in Oakland — command more than $100 each on eBay. Her records and live appearances with the late cross-dressing San Francisco disco queen Sylvester and other dance music artists have made her a favorite at gay events across the country, including the annual Southern Decadence festival on Labor Day weekend in New Orleans.
During her time with Sylvester in the early ‘80s, Tracy was joined on backup vocals by her friends Martha Wash and the late Izora Rhodes, originally known as the Two Tons o’ Fun, later as the Weather Girls. “They were the tons, and I was the fun,” Tracy quips. Read more

Tammy Hall Steps to the Forefront

By Lee Hildebrand

Tammy Hall. Photo by Len Keller.

Ask just about any jazz singer in the Bay Area who their favorite piano accompanist is and they’ll tell you, “Tammy Hall.” The San Francisco-based musician has played with some of the best over the past two decades. The list includes Rhonda Benin, Brenda Boykin, Darlene Coleman, Debbie DeCoudreaux, Frankye Kelly, Lady Mem’fis, Kim Nalley, Denise Perrier, Pamela Rose and Linda Tillery. She’s also backed such out-of-town vocalists as the legendary Jimmy Scott, the late Etta Jones and former Supreme Mary Wilson. Read more

The Rise and Fall of Club Nouveau

By Lee
Hildebrand

The last time I visited Jay King in Sacramento, he was sitting behind a deck in his office chastising a Warner Bros. Records executive over the phone. It was March of 1987, and the brash 25-year-old producer was pleased that his recording of “Lean on Me” by his recently formed group Club Nouveau was No. 1 on Billboard’s pop chart but was incensed that it had stalled at No. 2 on the R&B chart. Club Nouveau’s version of the Bill Withers song, which utilized elements of reggae and a then-popular style of Washington, D.C., funk known as go-go, was King’s fourth Top 10 hit in 13 months. He would have only one more.

Club Nouveau, left to right: Samuelle Prater, Valerie Waston, and Jay King.

Club Nouveau, left to right: Samuelle Prater, Valerie Waston, and Jay King.

King, who now lives in Southern California, recently invited me to a Sacramento restaurant to celebrate our birthdays, which are a day apart. We were joined by his girlfriend, his brother, two sisters, a brother-in-law, an 18-month-old niece and a friend.
Born in Oroville and raised in Sacramento, King began his career as a teenage dancer in Vallejo. In 1986, he and his producing partners Denzel Foster and Thomas McElroy recorded a song titled “Rumors” by a trio of former Berkeley High students known as Timex Social Club. The record, issued on King’s own Jay label, rose to No. 1 on the R&B chart and to No. 8 pop. A rival label in Walnut Creek, having learned that Timex Social Club had no written contract with King, quickly signed the group, which broke up not long thereafter. King, Foster and McElroy, along with Sacramento singers Saumelle Prater and Valerie Watson, then formed Club Nouveau (“new club,” in French), recorded an album titled “Life, Love & Pain” and signed with Warner Bros. The disc yielded four Top 10 hit singles: “Jealousy” (an “answer” to “Rumors”), “Situation #9,” “Lean on Me,” and “Why You Treat Me So Bad.”
King’s temper would soon prove to be his undoing. As “Why You Treat Me So Bad” was climbing the charts, the producer threatened to “whip Mo Ostin’s a–.” King, now mellower at age 48, recalled that the Warner Bros. Records president “told me that his fights weren’t physical. I never had another hit record.” Foster and McElroy compounded King’s misfortunes by quitting Club Nouveau in 1988. They set up their own production company in Oakland and proceeded to cut hit after hit, at first with Tony Toni Tone, then with En Vogue.
King, Prater and Watson continued making records — some of which, such as a 1992 version of “Oh Happy Day,” have been minor hits –and still perform together 20 to 30 times a year as Club Nouveau. The three singers, along with their four-piece band of Bay Area musicians, will appear at Yoshi’s in San Francisco at 8 p.m. Friday, February 12.
“There’s no sequencing, no samples, “ the producer stated. “We’re a straight-up group, so what you see is what you get. Everything’s live.”
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Provoking Play “Colorstruck” Addresses Color, Race and Racism

By Lee Hubbard

Donald Lacy in Afro wig.

Donald Lacy in Afro wig.

National news was made recently when comments from United States Senator Harry Reid from Nevada described President Barack Obama as a “light skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” in a off the record interview during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The comments were made public in the book “Game Change” which gave a behind the scenes look at the 2008 presidential campaign. Reid quickly apologized for the comments, which dealt with President’s Obama skin color and President Obama quickly accepted his apology. Reids comments were the topic of editorials, columns and various conversations that dealt with race, racism, skin color and what is acceptable to the dominant white society and within the African American community.
Issues dealing with color, race and racism are addressed in the thought provoking play ‘Colorstruck,’ a one man show written and performed by Donald Lacy and directed by Michael Torres. The play premiered recently at the Buriel Clay Theatre at the African American Cultural Center in San Francisco. Colorstruck looked at race through the lens of Lacy’s life as a child growing up in East Oakland in the mid 1970’s. His life shadows the end of the civil rights era and the start of the black is beautiful and black power moements.
The play opens up with Lacy behind a projector screen shouting out the names of various black historical figures who appear on the screen ranging from the historian CLR James, to black activist Malcolm X to acting couple of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. After reading off the names, Lacy comes on the stage and begins to talk about blackness and color, with his unique perspective.
As a fair skinned black child whose parents were much darker, he deals with the issues that he had to face as a child,. His black friends would always question him about his parents and ask if he was adopted. Lacy uses humor, drama, dancing and spoken word to tell of his childhood and adult expereinces, whiich examine the historical ramifications of race and racism and how it is used not only from the broad community, but within the Afridan American community.
He deals with topics ranging from hair, dancing, politics, to being harressed by the police as a ten year old kid. Colorstruck last 80 minutes and at times it can drag on. Other times, it cuts short meaningingful issues that could be broadened even further, but the play will make you question how you look at yourself and others.
At the start of the 20th century famed social scientist W. E. B Dubois stated that, “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” Lacy uses this quote to get to the meaning of his play. We as a nation have been stuck dealing with the issues of color since this nations founding. While some people may believe we are moving towards a color blind society, Lacy shows that color and the images behind color have always been around us and will countinue to be for a long time.
Lacy will be performing in Miami at the Colony Theatre in South Beach, Feb. 1-7th. He will be in New York in March. He has dates taking place in Northern California during black history month at the University of Santa Clara, San Jose State and San Francisco State. For more information go to the web site, www.colorstruck.net.

Musicians Rally for Marcus Books

By Lee Hubbard

The West Coast Blues Hall of Fame dinner will take place March 28, at the Hilton Oakland Airport from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Bay Area Blues Society has decided to honor Marcus Books and founder Raye Richardson for their significant contributions to music and their contribution to preserving and cataloging the Blues by the various books that have sold at the stores over the years.
“We are going to nominate Marcus Books Stores to the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame,” said Ron Stewart, head of the Bay Area Blues Society. “The store has helped to preserve Blues and its legacy with the books it carries.”
Stewart said the Blues Society will buy a number of books from Marcus Books. He will also send out e-mail blasts to its various members, which number in the thousands, to help support Marcus Books.
Over the years, Marcus Books has been a leader in chronicling African American music and featuring titles that deal with African American music ranging from hip hop, soul, to Jazz and the Blues.
Stewart said that the Bay Area Blues Society, which is a bay area non-profit, is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and representation of American folk music and cultural forms of Blues, Jazz and Gospel. He added, “The society is grateful for Marcus books and its music legacy. We want to help Marcus books as much as we can in this time of need,”continued Stewart.
Others being honored include Sheila E, Lonnie Hewitt, Cornelius “Snooky” Flowers and radio DJ Ronnie Dark
For more info go to www.bayareabluessociety.net.

Lloyd Gregory Gets Into Many Grooves

By Lee
Hildebrand

Guitarist Lloyd Gregory’s remarkable musical versatility and the fact that he’s an extremely nice guy have kept him in steady demand for more than four decades. Born 62 years ago in Indianapolis and raised in Cleveland, he relocated to Berkeley in 1966 — during the golden age of Oakland soul — and quickly hooked up with the Ballads, then the area’s top vocal group. His rippling Curtis Mayfield-inspired guitar chords can be heard prominently on the Ballads’ 1967 hit “God Bless Our Love” (the version on the local Bay View label, not the later one on Venture). Several years later, while in Chicago with the Natural Four, he had the opportunity to sit down in a studio and talk to his hero Mayfield.
Gigs with such singers as Jesse James, Mary McCreary, Maxine Howard and Sugar Pie DeSanto followed, but for the past quarter century Gregory has focused on leading his own band. “I find that if you want to work, it’s best to be a bandleader,” he says following an engagement at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco.

Lloyd Gregory

Lloyd Gregory

The guitarist recalls some valuable advice keyboardist John Turk gave him over breakfast in Switzerland, where they were touring with Howard: “If you want to be good, always hire people who are better than you for your band. They will pull you up and make you a better musician.”
“I’ve lived by that,” Gregory adds, “and I’ve been lucky enough to have some really, really good people around me. I’ve just tried to take care of business so that I can get these people I really respect good-paying gigs.”
His current band is made up of some of the Bay Area’s heaviest players: tenor saxophonist Robert Stewart, keyboardist-vocalist Janice Maxie-Reid, electric bassist Joe Thomas and drummer Billy (Shoes) Johnson. The group, augmented by second keyboardist Glen Pearson and percussionist James Henry, will perform at 8 p.m. Monday, February 1, at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Gregory will also be playing solo guitar from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, February 18, at a reception for an exhibit of photos by Jim Dennis and Ted Pontiflet in the Craft & Cultural Arts Gallery of the State of California Office Building in Oakland.
The Gregory band’s command of jazz, blues and funk was evident one recent Sunday evening at Biscuits & Blues. Among the highlights were Stewart’s molten-toned, octave-leaping tenor solo and Gregory’s scorching, fast-fingered flight on a funk-fueled treating of Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance,” Maxie-Reid’s soaring vocals on a samba-driven arrangement of “Summertime” and the leader’s sweetly ringing tone and use of hammer-on trills during a slow blues instrumental.
Gregory is in the process of mixing his fifth CD, scheduled for March release on Stanley Clarke’s Roxboro label. Gregory and the famous jazz bassist met through their mutual interest in Tae Kwon Do. “I school him about martial arts, and he schools me about music,” the guitarist says of Clarke.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Teddy Pendergrass Remembered

By Lee
Hildebrand

Soul singer Theodore “Teddy” Pendergrass, who lost a battle with colon cancer in Philadelphia on January 13 at age 59, grew up wanting to be a preacher but wound up a drummer, playing for a period with the Cadillacs of “Speedoo” renown, then with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He joined Melvin’s group, a cabaret act that had been performing and recording for 16 years with limited success, in 1970. Before the year was out, he had become the Blue Notes’ lead singer and would help transform them into one of the world’s hottest soul vocal groups.

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Singing in a husky baritone, heavily influenced by Marvin Junior of the Dells, Pendergrass led the Blue Notes on such R&B chart-topping hits as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “The Love I Lost” and the socially conscious “Wake Up Everybody,” all produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The singer remained with the producers’ Philadelphia International Records after going solo in 1977 and continued scoring big with hits like “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Close the Door” and “Love T.K.O.”
With Al Green having turned away from secular music and Marvin Gaye in seclusion in Hawaii, England and then Belgium, Pendergrass reigned as the soul music heartthrob of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. In concert, he played his macho “come here, woman” role to the hilt, posturing like a bodybuilder, rolling his hips and singing blatantly sensual songs like “Close the Door” (“Let me give you what you’ve been waiting for”) and “Turn Off the Lights” (“Let’s take a shower together/I’ll wash your body and you’ll wash mine”).
His adoring female fans ate it up, screaming continuously, cheering his every move and phrase and singing along on nearly every song. Admiration for Pendergrass wasn’t limited to women, however. Audiences included many Teddy clones, wearing buckskin jackets and cowboy hats — a trend in African American fashion that the singer helped popularize.

On March 18, 1982, his Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce hit a guardrail and crashed into two trees near his home in Philadelphia. He suffered a spinal cord injury that left him partially paralyzed from the waist down and with limited use of his arms. News that his relatively uninjured passenger was a transsexual nightclub performer also shocked many fans. Singing from a wheelchair, Pendergrass reemerged two years later on the Asylum label and resumed having Top 10 R&B hits through 1991. They included “Hold Me” (a 1984 duet with then-little-known Whitney Houston), “Love 4/2,” “Joy” (for which he received his only Grammy Award), and “It Should Have Been You.”
Pendergrass is survived by his mother, Ida Pendergrass, his wife Joan, son Teddy II and daughters Trisha, La Donna, Sherilla and Jessica. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, January 23, at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Joan and Teddy Pendergrass Memorial, P.O. Box 382, Gladwyne, PA 19035.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

“A Pact With the Devil?” What the…

By Dion Evans,
Religion Editor

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and host of one of America’s longest running religious broadcasts – the 700 Club – has recently made comments regarding the devastation of the Republic of Haiti; a 7.0 earthquake that has, to recent date, claimed the lives of over 50,000 and is threatening to claim, as predicted by the President of Haiti, more than 200,000 lives.
None of this mattered when the microphone was set before the mouth of a man who claims to be a representative of Christ. Pat Robertson has stated that the devastating earthquake which has hit Haiti was the result of God’s judgment upon the country due to a “pact with the devil” made by its Haitian slaves in the 1700’s. What!? The founder of a 50 year old “Christian Broadcasting” organization pointed down and wagged his finger as if to shame a people – who are, at the present, enduring the most devastating natural disaster in human history.
Desiring to wrap my mind around these comments, I sought out Bay Area pastors to lend their voices to respond to the comments made by Pat Robertson. Here are some of their responses:
Bishop Frank Pinkard – EVERGREEN BAPTIST CHURCH, Oakland – “He is a false prophet and an ungodly man. He is a Conservative Christian racist.”
Rev. Dr. Walter Humphrey, MORIAH CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, Oakland – “If that be the case then God have mercy on England for the Middle Passage. The blood of those Africans like the blood of Abel cries for vengeance.”
Pastor Gary Golden, FOOTHILL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, Oakland – “Pat Robertson’s statement is offensive, ill-timed and racially charged. It is sad that this kind of backward thinking is still tolerated in these days.”
Rev. Dr. MT Thompson, BERKELEY MT. ZION BAPTIST CHURCH, Pastor Emeritus – “I am disturbed in my spirit beyond measure. To live in an age where religious leaders, publically, present our God – Jehovah, my God – as an average character of revenge. Any religious leader that stoops to the level of presenting God with the concept of a revengeful character and acting in the law of retribution, even if people have sinned, needs to be dismissed from any power of public communication. How dare any man seek to reduce my God to a level of being just a man who holds accounts to get even – even if sin has been committed.”
Pastor Tim Royal, HALCYON BAPTIST CHURCH, San Leandro – “Unbelievable that a Christian world share an urban legend as if it were fact. I am very disturbed by the fact that Christian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse are risking life and limb to glorify Christ and this man has smeared HIS name.
Pastor Jerry Blackmon, FIRST NEW JERUSALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, Oakland, “No one can assume God’s judgment because no one knows the mind of God. All we can do is pray and give aid in support of the Haitians. Show love and not judgment.”

Dr. Musilee Adams Davis Releases New Book About Natural Health For The Body

Dr. Musilee Adams Davis has just released her book, “Naturopathis, Holistic, Alternative”, about Natural Health For The Body.
Davis says, “It is very important to take care of your health. You should eat right, get a normal amount of sleep, and drink plenty of water. Exercise is important too. Taking herbal medicing daily will help you with a better healthy life for tomorrow.”
Davis is in her nineties and quick to tell you she is healthy and has helped others be healthy by taking daily regimens of herbs. Her book is full of recipies.
It is dedicated to her three sons: Donald, Norris and Sammy Davis. To order a copy of the book, call (510)525-1183.

Dr. Musilee Adams Davis

Dr. Musilee Adams Davis

New Voices

New Voices, administered by J-Lab and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is a pioneering program to seed innovative community news ventures in the United States.
Projects can produce news and information for a geographic area such as a small town, city, county, state, or region, or they can serve a community of interest.
Funding is available for print or electronic news initiatives, including online, cable, broadcast, narrowcast, satellite, and mobile efforts. Grantees will receive $17,000 the first year and may apply for $8,000 in matching funds in the second year.
Nonprofit organizations and education institutions, including public broadcasters, independent media, and colleges and universities, are eligible to apply. Of the eight projects to be funded in 2010, at least three grants are targeted for news initiatives in Knight Foundation communities.
Applications must be submitted online by March 1, 2010. Visit the New Voices website to review the 2010 Request for Proposals.http://www.j-newvoices.org/site/story/2010rfp/

E.C. Scott Brings Blues to Cable TV

By Lee Hildebrand

Oakland-born blues singer E.C. Scott traveled all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, six years ago to have a video made of “These Ain’t Yo Daddy’s Kind of Blues,” an original song from her fourth CD.
She paid for the production out of her own pocket. The idea was not to sell the video but to use it as a promotional tool to boost sales of the CD and attendance at her shows.
Much to Scott’s disappointment, she discovered that there was not one blues video television program in all of the USA. “I said to myself,” she recalls, “’If I’m in this need, there have to be others.”
Scott, a large woman with a friendly smile, began talking classes in directing, producing and camera operation at Midpeninsula Community Media Center in Palo Alto, and, in November 2006, launched “The Jook Joint” with business partner Greg Mitchell. The half-hour show, hosted by Scott and featuring videos by such performers as Carey Bell, Elvin Bishop, Bobby Bland, Etta James, B .B. King, Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite, Odetta and Koko Taylor, now airs on 247 community access stations across the U.S. and Canada. It can be viewed throughout the Bay Area on Comcast Channel 28 at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 p.m. seven days a week. There’s a different show each day.
Record companies, as well as artists themselves, supply Scott with the videos. There are some, especially by Southern soul singers who specialize in sexually suggestive songs, which Scott says she is unable to air in their entirety.
“Carl Sims has a ‘booty girl’ in his video,” she explains. “It’s a nice video, but I can only show the first two minutes of it because she starts squatting. Some of that is too much for prime time. I’m on during prime time, and I don’t want to lose it.”

ec-scott

Scott tapes her introductions to the videos at the Palo Alto studio and edits the programs on a computer in the basement of her Union City hillside home. She’s wearing a T-shirt from Mississippi Valley Blues Festival adorned with a drawing of one of her heroines, the legendary blues singer-guitarist Memphis Minnie.
“The purpose of ‘The Jook Joint,’” Scott says, “is to promote today’s blues — the living artists who are out there in the field working — and at the same time honor those who paved the way for us. In almost every segment, we have an honoree, which is someone from the past. Memphis Minnie was one.”
Scott sang in the choir at St. John Missionary Baptist Church while growing up in Oakland. She began performing in nightclubs as a teenager but stopped for a period to raise her three children. She’s been back at it since 1991and last year spent six weeks touring Europe. She and her band will appear at 8 and 10 p.m. on Friday, January 22, at Biscuits & Blues, 401 Mason Street in San Francisco.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Whispers Sing Soulful Gospel

Members of The Whispers : Nicholas Caldwell, Walter Scott, Wallace “Scotty” Scott, Leaveil Degree.

Members of The Whispers : Nicholas Caldwell, Walter Scott, Wallace “Scotty” Scott, Leaveil Degree.

By Lee Hildebrand

Walter Scott and his identical twin Wallace, better known as “Scotty,” never forgot the music they grew up singing at a Baptist church in Fort Worth, Texas. Now, 45 years into their distinguished career as co-lead singers of the Whispers, they and their cohorts in the group, Nicholas Caldwell and Leaveil Degree, have released their first gospel CD.
On “Thankful,” the Whispers perform entirely new songs tailored to their signature style, rather than traditional religious songs, as most soul artists do when turning to gospel. “If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll hear the gospel intent, but other than that, it’s the same thing that we’ve been doing for years,” Scotty, 66, explains by phone from his Southern California home. “We felt like we shouldn’t try to change what got us here.”
Even gospel music great Fred Hammond, who wrote and produced four of the 10 songs on “Thankful,” didn’t attempt to alter the group’s effervescent jazz-imbued soul sound. “When Fred Hammond said to me, ‘Scotty, I want you to scat on the beginning of this song,’ I thought he was joking,” the singer says. “This being our first gospel thing, we were sort of new at what you could do and what you couldn’t do. Scatting wasn’t a problem for me, but I didn’t know if it would work. But he’s the guy who wrote it, so I was more than happy to get into it.”
The Whispers plan to mix at least one song from “Thankful” into their vast repertoire that includes such hits as “And the Beat Goes On,” “It’s a Love Thing” and “Rock Steady” when they perform Saturday, January 16, at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. Former Temptations lead Dennis Edwards and his current group open the show at 8 p.m.
Harmony vocalist and choreographer Nicholas Caldwell may or may not be present for the Oakland show. He ripped his Achilles tendon during a November 27 concert in Westbury, New York, and has since been recovering. If he does rejoin the Whispers at the Fox, Scotty says, “He’ll probably be sitting on a stool.”
The Fox show is something of a homecoming for the group, most of whose members lived in the East Bay from the mid-’60s to the early ‘80s Although originally based in Los Angeles, the Whispers found little love from disc jockeys and club owners there at the onset of their career. Their first break came in 1965 when Sly Stone, then a deejay at KDIA in Oakland, began playing their second single, “Never Again,” and booked them to perform at Lil’ Bo Peep’s in San Francisco. It was their first paying gig. They were soon packing the Sportsman in Oakland other local clubs.
“The jocks played our records, we worked the clubs and we learned our skills in the Bay Area,” Scotty says. “By the time we came back to L.A., it was all worked out, but we had to leave for that to happen.”
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Sam Cooke Remembered in PBS Film

By Lee Hildebrand

Sam Cooke, right, teaching a song to Muhammad Ali in 1963.

Sam Cooke, right, teaching a song to Muhammad Ali in 1963.

Unlike other vocalists who crossed over from careers in gospel music to R&B and eventually to the top of the pop charts — Aretha Franklin and Johnnie Taylor, among them — Sam Cooke made the leap directly from gospel to the pop summit in a single bound. Within months of ending his six years at the helm of the Soul Stirrers, the handsome heartthrob with the angelic voice landed at No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts in 1957 with “You Send Me.” Cooke and producer Bumps Blackwell had calculated the love song’s pop appeal, even using a Caucasian chorus behind the singer in order to make it more attractive to white record buyers.
“That was not R&B; that was pop,” James Brown says of “You Send Me” in “Sam Cooke: Crossing Over,” an engrossing hour-long documentary in the PBS series “American Masters” that airs at 10 p.m. Monday, January 11, on KQED-TV, Channel 9. Others interviewed for the film by producers John Antonelli and D. Channsin Berry include such contemporaries of the late singer as Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson and Bobby Womack and several members of Cooke’s family. Archival footage includes Cooke’s television appearances with Dick Clark and Mike Douglas, an a cappella duet by Cooke and Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) from a BBC sports program and chilling courtroom testimony by the alleged prostitute who Cooke accused of stealing his pants on December 11, 1964, and the motel manager who then shot him to death during his frantic attempt to retrieve them.  Danny Glover is the narrator.
Antonelli had begun work on the documentary 11 years ago but ran into roadblocks set up by Allen Klein, who micromanaged Cooke’s estate. The Sausalito filmmaker said that Klein, who died in July, had prevented him from licensing certain archival footage and from interviewing some of the late singer’s friends and family. Berry, who was known as “Chan Berry” when he was a KBLX disc jockey in the mid-1980s, managed to open many doors after being brought into the project. It helped that Berry’s wife’s cousin is married to Cooke’s nephew.
“Sam represented the independence I’ve always wanted, creatively and businesswise ,” Berry said by phone from Chicago, where he was filming a documentary on Dr. Jeremiah Wright, President Barak Obama’s controversial former pastor. “He was the first African American man to own himself as much as he possibly could — his masters (of his own recordings for RCA Victor) and his label, SAR Records (for which he produced Mel Carter, Johnnie Taylor, the Valentinos and others).
“The way Sam presented himself as a master craftsman on stage, he could have been an African American version of a Sinatra or a Tony Bennett. He had that much class and charisma. People loved him, not only African Americans, but Caucasian people and Latinos. You go in the Latino community today in Los Angeles and play ‘Cupid’ and ‘You Send Me,’ and people go wild.”
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Melba Moore to Mix R&B And Gospel at The Rrazz Room

By Lee
Hildebrand

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“The Gift of Love,” Melba Moore’s current CD of duets with vocal virtuoso Phil Perry, has been hailed as her “triumphant return to R&B after 20 year hiatus,” as a headline in the New York Beacon put it. Yet the 11-song disc, in addition to containing stunning remakes of such soul oldies as “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” the Spinners’ “Sadie” and Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick’s “Weakness,” features several gospel selections, including Sounds of Blackness’ s “Optimistic” and John P. Kee’s “It Will Be Alright.”  And, without Perry, Moore delivers an awe-inspiring rendition of the inspirational classic “I Believe” with an uncanny combination of religious fervor and theatrical flair.
“That seems to be what I am,” Moore, 64, says of R&B/gospel mix by phone from her home in New York. She had stopped recording after the 1990 album “Soul Exposed,” which included a version of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” that led to the venerable “Negro National Anthem” being entered into the Congressional Record as the official “African American National Hymn.”  Following a divorce that left her bankrupt and emotionally devastated, she finally returned to disc in 2004 with the all-gospel CD “Nobody but Jesus,” that, for all its brilliance, was sadly overlooked. She did both R&B and gospel on her “Melba Moore Live in Concert” CD in 2007 and plans to do likewise during her December 30-January 3 engagement in the Rrazz Room of Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason Street, San Francisco.
Moore, who rose to fame in 1970 as the Tony Award-winning star of the Broadway musical  “Purlie,” celebrated the release of “The Gift of Love” in September at Gospel Uptown, a new Harlem restaurant and nightclub in which she is a partner. The club presents live gospel music, as well as R&B.   “It just has to be clean,” she says of the R&B. The restaurant serves what she jokingly calls “nouveau-colored” cuisine. “It’s beautiful soul food without the grease and the heart attack,” she explains.
The singer was born Beatrice Melba Hill in New York City to vocalist Melba Smith and bandleader Teddy Hill.  Smith, who recorded under the name “Bonne Davis,” has a No. 1 hit on Billboard magazine’s Harlem Hit Parade chart in 1943 with a pop song titled “Don’t Stop Now.” Hill gave trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie his first important big-band gig in 1937 and later managed Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, where in the early 1940s Gillespie, along with Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk, developed what became known as bop. Moore says that Gillespie used to call her “Melba Junior.”
Although she was raised as and remains a Catholic, she also considers herself “a born-again Holy Ghost Christian.”
Asked if she shouts, Moore replies, “If I’m in the Mass, it doesn’t seem appropriate, but if I’m in a place where I can express myself any old way I want to, then, yes.”
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Big Band Revives Ellington’s “Nutcracker”

Junius Courtney Big Band, left to right: Kerry Davis, Jim Newman, Ken Husbands, Pat Mullen,James Nelson, Jerry Povse, Nat Courtney, James Tinsley, Andres Soto, Sam Flores, Curtiss Mayes, Mike Lafferty, Terry Hilliard, Duane Worm, Paul Girosetto, Denise Perrier, Frank Fisher, George Spencer, Roberta Mandel.

Junius Courtney Big Band, left to right: Kerry Davis, Jim Newman, Ken Husbands, Pat Mullen,James Nelson, Jerry Povse, Nat Courtney, James Tinsley, Andres Soto, Sam Flores, Curtiss Mayes, Mike Lafferty, Terry Hilliard, Duane Worm, Paul Girosetto, Denise Perrier, Frank Fisher, George Spencer, Roberta Mandel.

By Lee Hildebrand

Junius Countney may have been too ill to blow his horn during his final years, but the New Orleans-born trumpeter never missed one of his big band’s gigs. Neither did he miss a rehearsal, which had been happening every Wednesday night since the orchestra’s inception in Berkeley in 1961.
Prior to his passing in 2003 at age 85, Courtney had his son Nat, who’d been the band’s drummer since 1983, promise to keep it going.
“The band is like a family,” Nat Courtney, 55, said following a recent Wednesday night rehearsal by the Junius Coutney Big Band at his mother’s home in the El Cerrito hills. “Everyone stayed on board.”
Although half the 18-piece band was away in San Francisco participating in a salute to legendary Bay Area jazz trumpeter Frank Fisher, a longtime member of the Courtney orchestra, three saxophonists, two trombonists, a trumpeter, pianist, guitarist and drummer Nat ran through Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s intricate rearrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” in preparation for performances at Yoshi’s in Oakland at 8 and 10 p.m. on Monday, December 21.
Nat maintained a steady swing while executing accents on the bass drum and rim shots on the snare that recalled the style of Ellington drummer Sam Woodyard. Indeed, Nat was reading Woodyard’s original parts from Ellington’s famous 1960 recording that were later transcribed by David Berger for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
“We wanted to do something that was Christmas-y, but we didn’t want to do just traditional Christmas stuff,” he said of his reason for choosing “The Nutcracker Suite.” Besides that and other instrumental works, the Yoshi’s shows will feature Denise Perrier, the band’s vocalist for the past nine years.
Junius Courtney came to California in 1945 to work as a cook for the U.S. Army in Richmond before settling into a career as a detailer at Doten Pontiac, first in Berkeley, then Oakland. Like his dad, Nat worked for the Doten family and recently retired after 32 years as an auto technician for Jim Doten’s Berkeley Honda.
“It was never meant to make money” Nat said of the band, most of whose members since its formation have had day jobs. “”By 1961, big bands were done.”
The Courtney band did, however, soon begin earning money playing for tea dances at the Shattuck Hotel and other venues. Although the orchestra doesn’t play as many dances these days, it has averaged 13 performances per year over the past three years.
It began as a “lab band” in order to give the members an opportunity to hear their original arrangements and, Nat said, “to keep their reading skills together.” The orchestra presently has 306 charts in its book, including arrangements of Clifford Brown and John Coltrane pieces by the late Jerry Cournoyer, as well as material from the Ellington and Count Basie bands. Another 300 arrangements, donated by the Richmond Musicians’ Union, are in storage because, according to Nat, “they’re just too old and too clink-clanky.”
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Vocalist Jua Makes Jump From Soul to Jazz

By Lee
Hildebrand

Two years ago, Jua Howard was making something of name for himself in neo-soul circles, crooning in velvety tenor tones reminiscent of Luther Vandross and Will Downing in clubs in New York City and London. “Anticipation,” his 2007 self-released CD of mostly original ballads, was picking up play on smooth-jazz and R&B stations. Earlier, he had sung background vocals for the Blackbyrds, the Washington, D.C. band known for such 1970s hits as “Walking in Rhythm” and “Happy Music.”
Yet Jua, who uses only his first name professionally (it’s Swahili for “sun”), was having second thoughts about his musical direction. “I got tired of what I was doing,” the 30-year-old Chicago-born singer says following a vocal performance class at the Jazzschool Institute in Berkeley. “With the neo-soul scene, everything started sounding the same.”

Jua Howard

Jua Howard

During the summer, Jua quit his nine-to-five job with a nonprofit scholarship program in D.C., moved to East Palo Alto and enrolled at the Jazzschool. The singer, who holds a BA in English from Emory University in Atlanta, is again a fulltime student. Other current classes include ear training/sight singing, working musician, jazz theory and world music. He also studies privately with noted vocal coach Raz Kennedy, formerly of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra.
In November, Jua was chosen as the first recipient of the Jazzschool’s newly established Mark Murphy Vocal Jazz Scholarship, named for veteran poll-winning singer Murphy.
Jua says he chose the Jazzschool over other institutions with jazz programs because it offers solo vocal classes. Many other schools focus on ensemble singing, which has very little relationship to the marketplace, considering that there are few, if any, professional jazz choirs. And Jua has his heart set on becoming a professional jazz singer.

“Even though there is improvisation in soul music,” he says, “it’s not on the level that jazz is on. Stressing the idea that your voice is an instrument is a very clear difference for me. Jazz artists really look at their voice as an instrument and really educate themselves so much more in school and on the bandstand.”
Being a jazz singer, he adds, “is like being part of the band. It’s not just, ‘I’m a vocalist. I sing.’ No, I’m one of the band members. I don’t see that so much in the soul realm, where you have the vocalist in the front and band just playing along with ‘em. It’s not as much of an interaction, whereas in jazz there’s more of a conversation going on between the vocalist and the instrumentalists.”
Jua will complete his first of eight projected semesters with a free concert featuring himself and the six other students in Jazzschool Instutute Vocal Director Laurie Antonioli’s current vocal performance class. The concert theme is the Great American Songbook, and the students will each perform two standards of their choice. Jua plans to do “Route 66” and “I’m Glad There Is You” at the concert, which begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16, at the Jazzschool, 2087 Addison Street in Berkeley.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Ada Kassaye Makes Short, Stunning Debut

By Lee Hildebrand

Handsomely dressed couples swayed and dipped in elegant tandem on the dance floor, while a group of young men in black jeans and white tees jerked wildly around them hyphy-style to the rhythm-charged sounds of Tamrat Desta last Saturday at Kimball’s Carnival. The 31-year-old Ethiopian pop singing star, who’d come from Addis Ababa for the Oakland show, strutted about the stage as he crooned in a pliant high tenor to the accompaniment of a keyboardist and bassist, both of whom had flown in from Washington, D.C. A prerecorded disco-like four-on-the-floor bass drum beat, around which the bass player wove intricately syncopated patterns, fueled many of the numbers, as well as the dancers’ feet.
Although Desta was the headliner, some in the audience of around 300 had come to witness the public performing debut of Ada Kassaye, who, like most of them, is an Ethiopian immigrant to the Bay Area. She had planned to sing four selections from her first CD, recorded earlier this year in Addis Ababa and just released in Ethiopia and the United States, but the show was late in starting and time only permitted her to do two.

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Wearing a white loose-fitting, ankle-length traditional Ethiopian dress, the dreadlocked vocalist offered as her first song the disc’s title track, “Yamral,” a self-penned tune which translates from the Amharic language of her homeland into English as “the cute guy.” Many fans gathered at the front of the stage for Kassaye’s stunning performance, in which she navigated the song’s microtonal melody in commanding mezzo tones over a bouncing beat and the sampled high-pitched riffs of a masinko, a one-string violin-like instrument. Flashing a radiant smile, she and her dancers were in constant choreographed motion, their shoulders shaking and shimmying in a traditional dance known as eskirsta.
Following another set by Desta, the three women returned to the stage to close out the show with “Agebagn,” a song in which Kassaye salutes the hard work of the Gurage people of southwest Ethiopia. As they danced, this time kicking their legs and pumped their arms rapidly, a dozen or so audience members climbed onto the stage to join the frolic.

Born 26 years ago in Adama, an Ethiopian city also known as Nazret, Kassaye came to Oakland seven years back to join her mother and several of her brothers and sisters. She first attracted attention in Northern California’s large Ethiopian community through her effusive dancing at cultural events and is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of such Ethiopian singers as Aster Aweke and Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw, both of whom lived in the Bay Area prior to finding international fame.
Many of the songs on “Yamral” reflect Kassaye’s homesickness for Ethiopia. She has been back twice since moving to California and hopes to return soon in the wake of her CD release. Family members in Ethiopia, she says, “called me and told me, ‘I heard you on the radio today.’”
“I’m happy,” she adds. “The door is open for me.”
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.

Faye Carol’s Chrismas Carols

By Lee
Hildebrand

Although totally grounded in the African American musical traditions of jazz, blues, gospel and popular song, Faye Carol has been unafraid to take the music in bold new directions during her more than four decades as a recording artist. The tunes to which the applies her throaty contralto may be mostly familiar, but she transforms every one into something deeply personal with consistently imaginative arrangements, guttural moans and groans, scat interludes, occasional laughs that seem inspired by the Holy Ghost and yodels that suggest the influence of John Coltrane.
“I don’t want to ever take away from the integrity of the song,” the Meridian, Mississippi-born, Berkeley-based vocalist says over a salmon crepe at a local restaurant. “If the composer walks in the door, I want them to be able to recognize their song. I don’t want to go so far with my ego, thinking I’m making something so much better. I just have twists and turns and think about songs in a little different way, but they’re not going to be unrecognizable.”
On her latest CD, “Carolizing Christmas,” Carol does the unexpected with a set of seasonal favorites, plus a couple unrelated to the holiday. She begins “Jingle Bells,” for instance, as if she’s in church, filling the first chorus with gospel curlicues over the tempo-less accompaniment of pianist Sista Kee, tenor saxophonist Howard Wiley, bassist Ron Belcher, and drummer Darrell Green, before the song shifts into a blues shuffle. On “Deck the Halls,” two measures of waltz time connect a funk groove to a breakneck bop tempo. A blues medley of Lowell Fulson’s “Lonesome Chrismas” and Charles Brown’s “Merry Christmas Baby” begins with an original chorus in which Carol sings about watching Bishop T.D. Jakes on YouTube.
On the improvised vamp that closes her joyous reading of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” the singer names some of her own. They include John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, “a child at play,” “a sunshiny day,” “the San Francisco Bay, “’my mother’s smile” and “my Keetie Wheatie Wheatie.”

Faye Carol

Faye Carol

The latter is a nickname for Carol and her late husband Jim Gamble’s only child, pianist and gospel rapper Kito Gamble, known professionally as Sista Kee. Not only does Kee play two-fisted jazz and blues piano throughout “Carolizing Christmas,” she produced the CD and took the photos and did the graphic design for the booklet. She also raps on her mother’s funky rendition of “If I Had a Hammer,” a freedom song written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays that’s not normally associated with Christmas, although Kee gives it a religious twist with lines inspired by Romans 12:2, including “to my fellas, you are sons of the King….you are the bling bling, go on and ring the bell of freedom.”
Faye Carol and her quartet perform Christmas songs at 8 and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 15, at Yoshi’s in Oakland and ag

ain at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 18, at Anna’s Jazz Island in Berkeley.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.