Tagged Music

Haqq Shabazz – Bay Area Based Media Mogul Empowers the Independent Music Movement

From left to right: Mind Seed Engineer Edwin Hackett, Artist Ernesto “E-Shame” Reyes, Village Life Entertainment 5 Founder - CEO, Haqq Shabazz pose outside of Mind Seed Studios in Oakland. Photo by Carla Thomas.

By Carla Thomas
With a passion for the music industry and a drive to unify independent artists, Amir Abuhaqq Shabazz, founder and owner of Village Life Entertainment 5 LLC is taking his vision to the next level, after working with industry giants like the late Tupac Shakur and East Oakland’s Too Short.
Currently managing four main artists and signing more, as an affiliate of Mind Seed Records, “Haqq” Shabazz is turning his 20 plus years of experience into a viable platform by acquiring the state of the art Mind Seed Records studio.   With his current roster of artists Jazz JLP, Rap J-Loc and R&B Dancer-daughter, Brea Nicole Shabazz, his ability to empower new artists is already set in motion.
“I want to give back to the community and give young artists a road map to success,” he said.
While laying tracks in the studio, Shabazz is currently the executive producer of the cd “Shameless” for 28 year old family friend Ernest Reyes.  “His stage name is “E-Shame” and he’s the great nephew of the chief of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation that owns and operates Cache Creek Casino of Brooks, California,” he said proudly.
At Inner Scope Records, Shabazz worked with Tupac in the early 90’s and started his own label Ham-A-Lot Records and later Lock Records which produced compilations generating sales across the nation.
The graduate of Oakland Tech attended San Francisco State University and plans to offer top of the line multi-media, video and audio recording.  The nationally renowned owners of Mind Seed Records, Edwin and Joann Anderson, have graciously offered to support his efforts to propel the independent artist community with their company as a central factor.
“I want to show how hard work along with structure and resources can make the difference,” he added. Read more

Movement Music In the House

By Daily Mail

Top, center: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a White House commemoration of Black History Month with a star-studded event last week. Pictured clockwise are: Robert DeNiro, Natalie Cole, Morgan freeman, Seal, Joan Baez, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Howard University Choir, Yolanda Adams, Bob Dylan, John Legend, Smokey Robinson and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon.

President Barack Obama hosted an all-star lineup of performers at the White House to celebrate the music that fueled the civil rights movement.
The nation’s first black president transformed the grand ballroom into a concert hall packed with members of his Cabinet, Congress, civil rights leaders and students for a program that  aired on public television for Black History Month.
Actor Morgan Freeman, who read excerpts from historical works throughout the night, hearkened back to the song lyrics Mr Obama invoked during his election-night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park.
‘A long time coming,’ Freeman said. He later deadpanned: ‘I wish I could sing.’
‘The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music,’ Mr Obama said as he welcomed his audience.
He said activists from coast to coast were inspired by spirituals, felt their will sharpened by protest songs and base broadened by artists of hope.
He said their work created a more just America that allowed him to make history in 2008 with his election.
‘Tonight, we celebrate the music of the movement,’ Mr Obama said.
The Howard University Choir and The Freedom Singers performed at a mansion that in its history was maintained by slaves.
Mr Obama said the music helped the movement’s faith as their leaders were jailed and their churches bombed.
‘It’s hard to sing when times are rough,’ Mr Obama said. ‘The hymns helped … advance the cause of the nation.’
During that week Black leaders met with President Obama to remind him of the nation’s need for jobs.

Bay Area R&B Legend Sugar Pie DeSanto Back On Charts

By Lee Hildebrand

Left to right: Aretha Franklin, Sugar Pie DeSanto, James C. Moore, Detroit, December 2008.

Left to right: Aretha Franklin, Sugar Pie DeSanto, James C. Moore, Detroit, December 2008.

Veteran R&B singer-songwriter Sugar Pie DeSanto is in shock. Three weeks ago, the feisty 73-year old Oakland resident found herself back on a Billboard magazine chart for the first time in 43 years.

The Afro-Filipina vocalist’s last national hit, a duet with her old Fillmore District friend Etta James titled “In the Basement,” peaked at No. 37 on the trade publication’s R&B singles chart in 1966. That song and 23 others that DeSanto recorded for Chess Records in Chicago were reissued last month by Ace Records in London on “Go Go Power: The Complete Chess Singles 1961-1966.”

The CD entered Billboard’s blues album chart at No. 15 on May 30, which is quite unusual for an import with independent distribution in the U.S.

Born Umpeylia Balinton in Brooklyn and raised in the Fillmore, she was discovered in 1955 by bandleader Johnny Otis, who renamed the petite singer “Little Miss Sugar Pie.” Oakland basketball star, disc jockey and nightclub owner Don Barksdale added “DeSanto” to her stage name.

Sugar Pie DeSanto, London, July 1965.

Sugar Pie DeSanto, London, July 1965.

Her biggest hit was “I Want to Know,” recorded by Oakland producer Bob Geddins in his studio at 11th and Clay. It reached No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart in 1960, leading Leonard Chess to sign her to his company and James Brown to hire her as the first female vocalist to be featured with his revue.

Although DeSanto spent six years as an artist and staff writer at Chess , where her compositions were recorded by the Dells, Little Milton, Minnie Riperton and others, she was not among the figures portrayed in “Cadillac Records,” the recent motion picture about the Chicago firm.

“I think Beyonce is very pretty and she is a pretty good actress, but I don’t think that her vocal thing fit Etta James,” DeSanto said of the film. “Her thing was too light, because Etta never sung that light in her lifetime. They needed someone with a gruffer, heavier voice to portray Etta. Actually, they could have gotten me, but they didn’t.”

Things have been looking up of late for DeSanto, who barely escaped a 2006 Telegraph Avenue apartment fire that took the life of her husband Jesse. Last September, she was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in Philadelphia. Others honored at the ceremony included Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, Bill Withers, the  Whispers, Kool & the Gang, and the late Donny Hathaway.

During a typically acrobatic performance of “I Want to Know,” she caught the attention of Aretha Franklin, who was in attendance. Three months later, DeSanto reprised the song at the Queen of Soul’s private Christmas party in Detroit.

“After the show, she said, ‘Girl, you stole the show!’ DeSanto said of Franklin. “We hugged each other, and that was it. She told my manager (Oakland record producer James C. Moore), ‘I’ve got to have Sugar.’ Next thing I now, I was on my way to Detroit.”

Last of The Montgomery Brothers Passes

By Lee

Charles “Buddy” Montgomery

Charles “Buddy” Montgomery

Charles “Buddy” Montgomery, a jazz pianist and vibraharpist with long ties to the Bay Area, succumbed to heart failure on May 14 at his home in Palmdale, California. He was 79. Two older brothers preceded him in death: electric bass pioneer Monk in 1982 and guitar phenomenon Wes in 1968.
Buddy probably had the best ears I’ve ever encountered,” said record producer Orrin Keepnews, noting that Montgomery was an “intuitive musician” who couldn’t read music or chord changes but would learn new tunes after just one or two hearings.
Keepnews recorded him on vibes with his brothers and pianist George Shearing for Riverside Records in New York in 1961 and produced albums under Buddy’s own name in the 1980s for the Landmark label in Berkeley.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Montgomery didn’t begin playing piano until he was 18, but soon found himself on the road with blues shouter Joe Turner, performing at dance halls and dives in the deep South. “I really didn’t know blues that well,” Montgomery stated in 1987. “I was a bebop player. It kinda taught me how to play and appreciate blues. Joe would say, ‘Just play less notes.’ It took me a few years to understand that that was really important.”
“I’ve never worked with anybody would could change around the blues the way Buddy could,” said vocalist Marlena Shaw, on whose 1987 album “It Is Love” Montgomery played piano.
“Buddy was the most phenomenal arranger. Songs that I may have been singing for a couple of years just turned into something else under his fingers and his brain. Because of what he played, it made me sound like I was brilliant. I’ve worked with some wonderful people who do things instantaneously on the spot, with Ray Brown and all of them, but Buddy was number one in that.”
Shaw, singer Mary Stallings, saxophonist John Handy, and many others will participate in a tribute to Montgomery at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 22, beginning at 8 p.m.
Buddy and Monk Montgomery moved to the Bay Area in 1956 when they were with the Mastersounds, a jazz quartet in which Buddy played vibraharp. The group had a best-selling series of albums of songs from the musicals “The King and I,” “Kismet” and “Flower Drum Song” and helped establish the Jazz Workshop on Broadway in San Francisco as a popular club.
Buddy and Monk bought their then-little-known brother Wes west in 1957 to join the Mastersounds, but after living in East Oakland for a month, the guitarist moved back to Indianapolis due to homesickness.
Buddy himself left Oakland following Wes’ 1968 death, but returned in 1982 and remained for 11 years. During his second Bay Area residency, he organized the Oakland Jazz Alliance and produced a series of concerts at the Calvin Simmons Theater and other venues.
Montgomery’s survivors include his wife Ann Montgomery and first wife Lois Ann Moore, children David and Charla Montgomery, and grandchildren Mykah and Anthony Montgomery.

A Passion For Singing Has Kept Group Going 42 Years

By Lee

From left to right: James E. Hill, Elvin Rowe, Darrell Anderson, Jimmy Mack and Donald Raymond. Not pictured are: Clifford McFadden, Lonnie Johnson and Rick Alexander. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

From left to right: James E. Hill, Elvin Rowe, Darrell Anderson, Jimmy Mack and Donald Raymond. Not pictured are: Clifford McFadden, Lonnie Johnson and Rick Alexander. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Elvan Rowe Jr. paced the living room of a houseboat at remote San Pablo Bay Harbor while crooning a ballad titled “Just a Kiss” to an audience of some two dozen guests as four other members the Legendary O’Town Passions harmonized behind him doo-wop style.
Wearing a red jacket and black slacks, as did the other singers, Rowe stopped at a woman in black, extended his right hand and, wailing in emotive low-tenor tones, asked, “Can I be your only man?”  The woman, who turned out to be his wife Beatrice, took his hand and nodded in the affirmative.
The group’s bass singer, Clifford McFadden, was missing last Saturday afternoon, yet the Passions’ harmonies were remarkably full, particularly during a rendition of “I’m So Lonely,” a Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes-like number they recorded in 1984.
Donald Raymond, a 10-year member of the Passions who formerly sang with Milton “Mickey” Moore’s Numonics, handled the song’s lead with emotive aplomb. He delivered the line, “Here I am, a shell of a man,” with heart-wrenching urgency, prompting Rowe to quip verbally, “Just look at him.”
Other selections in the eight-song set, rendered alternately to pre-recorded instrumental tracks or entirely a cappella, included “Fed Up,” a blues shuffle the Passions recorded three years ago with John Lee Hooker Jr., and “Not the Father,” their current single on the Fairfield-based Prime USA Records label. “Look at me, I’m on TV,” group leader Jimmy Mack sang on the latter tune, a send-up of paternity-test confrontations that have long kept Maury Povich high in the daytime ratings. A video of “Not the Father” can be found at www.myspace.com/otownpassions.
In the 42 years since West Oakland native Mack joined the Passions, originally a doo-wop group formed in Chicago in 1956, they’ve opened shows for such headliners as the Esther Phillips, the Whispers, Con Funk Shun, Tony Toni Tone and Keyshia Cole, but most of their performances have been for community organizations. They appeared in the late 1960s at benefits for Synanon House and the Black Panther Party’s breakfast program and in more recent times for the Mother Wright Foundation and at such events as the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and the Black Cowboy Parade.
The San Pablo Bay Harbor gathering was a reception for the group’s former manager, Pat Womack, who is currently battling breast cancer, and was hosted by Vincent Lackey, an author and former Olympic weightlifter who lost his wife Kimberly to breast cancer a year and a half ago.
“We started off doing socially conscious music,” said Mack, 52, who has kept the Passions going for the past four decades, recruiting new members when others dropped out. Rounding out the current lineup are James E. Hill and Darrell Anderson.
“We bring our cultural influence in with our music,” Mack added.

TNT’s J. August Richards Is “Raising the Bar”

By Sandra Varner

J. August Richards

J. August Richards

J. August Richards, a University of Southern California (USC) alum, sounded energetic and upbeat, speaking form his Los Angeles home, as he effusively shared his view about the hit television court room drama, “Raising the Bar,” on cable’s hottest network, Turner Network Television (TNT).
The series follows the lives and cases of young lawyers who work on opposite sides – the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office – as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases. Season 2 begins Monday, June 8.  Check local listings for times.
Richards seamlessly inhabits the character, Marcus McGrath, a talented and brilliant, prosecutor with a strong sense of morality and responsibility.  Not one to expect or rely on special treatment, he goes out of his way to prove that a kid from a difficult background can grow up to achieve success despite the obstacles.  He also expects nothing less from the people he prosecutes, refusing to be lenient simply because they might be enduring difficult situations.
The character he portrays mirrors Richards’ strong identity and sensibilities away from the camera.
Having no experience as a lawyer, he holds a deep and abiding respect for the law, cultivated during his college years.  “When I was in college, I took an elective course, Law 101, with Professor Charles Whitebread, a very prominent lawyer,” he said.
“There were about 200 people in the class, but it was literally as if it were he and I.  He really excited me about the concept of law and what the law was; the logic and reason that goes into making laws, defending laws or changing laws.  At the end of the course he said to me, ‘Richards, when you’re done with that acting crap, give me a call.’
“He felt that I had the mind of a lawyer and that I should be a lawyer in real life; of course, I couldn’t tell him that that was never going to happen, but, the law and what goes behind it is something that I feel I really understand.  I feel I could defend myself (if the need arises) and I hope I never have to.”
Fortunately, Richards has only had to deal with criminal activity on TV.  “Ironically, I’ve never had any sort of interaction with the legal system personally, but I have with friends and family.  I understand the thought process behind the legal system but I do think that there are flaws and I do think there are certain aspects of the legal system that unfairly target certain people.  That’s one of the aspects that this show explores.”
Read more at www.Talk2SV.com.

O’ Town Passions World Tour & CD Project

By Charles Aikens

passions.jpgOld school Oakland singers The O’ Town Passions have been giving into there passion more and more lately, showing up on radio play lists and are preparing to head out on a world tour.  Their new recording, Not The Father, is a neo-soul tune that speaks to having a respectful relationship.

“It makes me feel good to see the Passions are finally getting the national notoriety that they deserve,” said Reynard Thomas, CEO of Prime USA Records“ I’m elated we were a major factor.”

“The new release, distributed by Prime USA, will turn the Passions into the worldwide celebrities  that they’ve always been in the Bay Area,” said Thomas, who added that  “the Passions coined the musical phase “Stop The Violence.” They also have been recognized numerous times as humanitarians and socially conscious group.

Read more

Eartha Kitt, "Santa's Baby", succumbs to cancer

By Conway Jones

Diva, legend and international celebrity Eartha Kitt has died at age 81.

With her curvaceous frame and unabashed vocal come-ons, she was among the first widely known African-American sex symbols. She was proclaimed as “the most exciting woman alive” by Orson Welles in the early ’50s.

Kitt was the illegitimate child of a black Cherokee sharecropper mother and a white man.  She worked in cotton fields and lived with a black family. She was sent to live in Harlem with an aunt at age 8.

By her early teenage years she was working in a factory and sleeping in subways and on the roofs of unlocked buildings. Read more

Oakland East Bay Symphony, "Let Us Break Bread Together"

Michael Morgan, music director and conductor of Oakland East Bay Symphony has announced program details for the upcoming choral extravaganza “Let Us Break Bread Together” on Sunday, Dec. 14, 4 p.m., at Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway.

Joining Maestro Morgan and the Symphony musicians on stage will be the combined musical forces of Oakland Symphony Chorus, Terrance Kelly and Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir of Hayward, Latin roots band Los Cenzontles, and the celebrated Bay Area klezmer band Kugelplex.

This year’s musical selections will range from spirituals and sacred music to classical and popular holiday songs. Concert highlights include Ellen Hoffman’s original work “Let Us Break Bread Together” for orchestra and singers, Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” and an array of beloved Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs, and traditional gospel. Audience participation is encouraged with a few opportunities to sing-along. Read more

Bay Area Black Music Awards Set for Dec. 13

The Second Annual Bay Area Black Music Awards (BMA) will honor superstars like Hammer, Joe Sample, George Duke, Tower of Power, Shelia E and the Oakland Symphony.

The event will pay tribute to entertainers from around the Bay Area who have been nominated in categories such as jazz, hip-hop, blues, spoken word, R&B and neo soul. This year, the event will also present the Bay Area Gospel Jubilee Awards.

The BMA will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Way, Berkeley. The show will begin with red carpet ceremonies at 6 p.m. and awards at 7 p.m.

In addition to awards for major entertainers, this year the BMA will feature Verge Awards, recognition of entertainers who are on the verge of major stardom.

Tickets and exhibit booth reservations are now being sold and accepted by phoning (510) 393-7930. Information on the BMA is also available at www.americanblackmusicawards.com

African-American Baritone-Bass in Heavenly Performance

baritone.jpgThe choir, orchestra, soloists and smaller ensembles prior to performance.  Photos by Adam Turner

On Sunday, the 23rd of November, at Hertz Hall (UC Berkeley) “superlative comments only” was the rule after the University of California Alumni Chorus, augmented by the UC Men’s Choral and UC Women’s Choral, plus selected voices from the San Francisco Unitarian Universalist Choir performed as a 170-voice choir.

The choir, together with a talented women’s ensemble – Perfect Fifth, and, professional soloists, plus a 26-piece orchestra provided the musical background for the 14th best film of all time – Carl Dreyer’s silent movie, “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. The oratorio background, “Voices of Light”, was a composition by Richard Einhorn. Read more

On The Way To The Concert

berkmusic.jpgNew Century Saxophone Quartet stopped at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley to perform for students the day before their concert at Regents Theatre (Holy Names University), last week.  Ernest Clark of Seville Realty, sponsored the student development program for Four Seasons Concerts.

Students listened with rapt attention during the 45 minute performance, and amazed everyone with their “sophisticated questions”.

Reggae Legend Pato Banton Comes to Oakland


An Intimate Evening with Reggae Legend Pato Banton” in West Oakland launches a 2009 state tour of America and is a rare opportunity to enjoy his music up close and personal. On Sunday, Nov. 23, Cjoy Inner.tainment and Friends of the Black New World will present Pato Banton & The Mystic Roots Band & Stay Positive Sound System at 6 p.m., at the historic Continental Club, 1658-12th Street in West Oakland.

Rated as one of the top showmen in the industry, Banton provides a high-energy performance while mixing humor with social consciousness and spirituality for the body, mind & soul. Banton is known as one of the greatest British MCs to evolve from the UK. Read more

Charles Antoine to Hold Auditions for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Band

CharlesAntoinemug.jpgWest Oaklander Charles Antoine, a long-time singer, songwriter and promoter, is currently auditioning musicians for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group, The Julian Vaught Band, formerly known as the “Flamingos.
With his brother, Donald, he formed the “Inspirations,” but when another group formed by the name, he changed the name to the “Invaders”. The group performed from 1966 to 1969.
Antoine went on to form other singing groups called the “Chandeliers” and the “Executives.” He turned his talent for writing poetry, begun while a student a McClymonds High School, to writing music. His first song “If Love Get Into Your Heart, There is Nothing You Can Do,” was sung in 1972 by Gene Mitchell. Read more

“Rock the Runway” Show

KBLX 102.9 Radio Personality Nikki Thomas will host the Bay Area Rock the Runway Fashion Show, a benefit for Alameda County groups that are helping foster care youth and other young people become productive adults.
The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m.. at the Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive in Oakland.
Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks will be recognized for her outstanding work on the frontlines of youth development. In addition, the program will honor two foster youth with the first annual Learners to Leaders Award.
Cost of the event is $20 general admission, $10 for youth. For information, call (510) 472-0782. Tickets are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

Marin’s 11th Annual Blues and Soul Attracts Over 7,000

Bluesandsoul.jpgThe Marin City’s 11th Annual Blues and Soul “Party in the Park” on September 1st was attended by 7,000 people. It was a beautiful sunny day where locals enjoyed great music, plenty of vendor and mouthwatering food.  Pictured above,  top row- from left is Narada Micheal Walden, Producer Felicia Gaston, KBLX DJ, and Frankie Lee;  middle row – Zakiya Blues Band, Gail Muldrow, Fillmore Slim and Miko Marks;  bottom row -  Huey Lewis, Mrs Hooker and John Lee Hooker Jr. Photos by Ace Washington.

Four Seasons Concerts 50th Year

4seasons.jpgIt was 1958 when the late W. Hazaiah Williams presented Marian Anderson, his first venture into the concert world, which he continued until his death in 1999.
On October 4, 7:30pm, Four Season’s Concerts will open their 50Th season (Today’s Artists/Four Seasons) with the Ritz Chamber Players, America’s first chamber ensemble comprised solely of artists with roots in the African Diaspora.  The four musicians  include some of the world’s most accomplished musicians: Terrance Patterson, Clarinet, Kyle Lombard, Violin, Troy Stuart, Cello and Kevin Sharpe, Piano.  Praised for the “fresh, new energy” they bring to the classical genre, they performed for the NAACP image awards in 2006, Carnegie Hall Debut in 2004 (sold out), and International Radio debut with the BBC in 2005. They’ve performed with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Pittsburg Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, to name a few. Read more

Boots Riley Counters Charges

Oaklander Says Norfolk Charges Racially Motivated

Norfolk, VA – A music performance at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival by Boots Riley, the well-known front man for The Coup, ended abruptly with police charges of “abusive language. The city is pressing forward with the charge – which the city is enforcing for the first time in 26 years.

Since the incident on June 21st, numerous false reports have emerged, and Riley is looking to set the record straight.

Riley claims the charges were racially motivated as they are part of a backlash from the recent Afr’Am Festival in Norfolk in which Gospel and R&B performances generated “noise complaints,” despite the performers adhering to the same decibel parameters as all of Norfolk’s other festivals. The Afr’Am fest has been the subject of controversy since, both festivals occurred at Towne Point Park, an area where high-priced condos have recently been built and an impending $11.5 million makeover is in the works. Read more

Fillmore Slim Performs at Packed Benefit Concert For KPOO

Yoshi’s sold out for benefit for Northern California’s only Black Owned and operated Radio Station

By Wade Woods

Fillmoreslim.jpgThe crowd packed Yoshi’s last Monday night for a benefit concert for Radio Station KPOO featuring the legendary Fillmore Slim.
KPOO was founded in an alley off 6th Street by a group of young African Americans interested in giving Blacks a voice on radio and given no chance to survive in the early 1970’s.
However some 40 years later , KPOO has not only survived but is flourishing at it’s state of the art facility on Divisadero St. KPOO is a listener sponsored station and depends on the support of it’s listeners to continue to stay on the air.
KPOO is located at 89.5 FM featuring the most culturally diverse music on Radio.

Bling's Billions

Is Jay-Z on Easy Street by leaving Def Jam for Live Nation’s “Road to Riches?”

Jayz.jpgJay-Z, plans to leave Def Jam for a $150million deal with Live Nation. The deal could revolutionize how money is made in the record industry. “Just as Tiger Woods restructured golf’s money  And just like Michael Jordan changed the financial arithmetic for Basketball, Jay-Z is on the verge of impacting distribution, ownership rights, ticket sales, merchandise control and every other aspect of artists’ careers,” said Paul Cobb, Oakland Post publisher. “Curt Flood made baseball players millionaires. Jaz-Z paves the way for rappers and entertainers to become billionaires.”

Opportunities for Artists

 $200,000 available to purchase artworks

The Alameda County Arts Commission is offering new opportunities for artists to have their work considered for the Alameda County Art Collection. Artists who make two-dimensional, low-relief, or wall sculptural artwork, and artists at all levels of professional development are invited to apply. More than $200,000 is available to purchase existing artwork and to commission artists to create new works of art. Through the Artwork Purchase Program existing artwork will be acquired and installed at County buildings.
The final selections must be approved by the Arts Commission Board. Applications for these opportunities must be submitted online through the CaFÉTM website, www.callforentry.org (search for “Alameda County”). A free technical application workshop will be held at the Alameda County Conference Center (125 12th Street at Oak, Oakland) on Thursday, April 3 at 1pm. Space is limited; call the Arts Commission Office to make a reservation. Read more

Making it Last Forever

Keith Sweat Headlines Paramount Soul Show

By Kwan Booth


The years have been good to Keith Sweat. Since hitting the ground running with a chart topping single 20 years ago, he’s had a series of hits as a solo artist, producer and collaborator and has managed to keep his passion while others from the era have faded into pop music history.

In conversation it’s clear the smooth crooner has mellowed even more over the years, while perfecting the style of upbeat, “New Jack Swing” R&B that made him famous. When fans see him this Friday at the for the “Ladies Night Out Tour” alongside Bell, Biv, Devoe and Tony! Toni! Tone!, the singer says they can expect a show dripping with vintage Sweat.

“You hear other artists out here who make the mistake of trying to be trendy. They really try to keep up. I know people want to hear Keith Sweat. I’m conscious of the people who have followed me the whole time, since day one.”

It’s those listeners he’s caters to on the new album, Just Me, due in early May from Atco/Rhino Records. The album is his first studio effort since 2002′s Rebirth and finds the singer mining the same slow jamming, candle lit, baby making territory first explored on 1988′s Make it Last Forever. Read more

No Awards for Musicians Who Use Profane Lyrics

By Daniel Abugah

ACCRA GHANA (ANS) — The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) says that it will no longer give music awards to musicians whose songs have profane lyrics.

DianaHopeson.jpg MUSIGA’s national president, Mrs. Diana Hopeson, said her organization wanted to bring discipline and sanctity to the industry.

Mrs. Hopeson, who was commenting on a 3-day national workshop held in Accra for MUSIGA executives, hoped the decision would go a long way to discourage the growing trend of profane music lyrics in the country by some hip life musicians, which had been a subject of worry.
Also a gospel musician, Mrs. Hopeson observed that gospel music in the country was making significant impact. She however noted that some people get into the gospel music industry either because they do not want to be tagged as ‘secular musicians’ or simply on the grounds of business and not for the purpose of ministry.
“Gospel musicians are those who are on a mission. Gospel musicians have the liberty to talk about politics and love, in God’s perspective, but we cannot also say that anyone who sings “Onyame Yeyi waye” (meaning God we praise you) is a gospel musician”, the MUSIGA president maintained. Read more

Lizz Wright at Yoshi's

Vocal phenomenon Lizz Wright, a Georgia native and minister’s daughter, grew up steeped in gospel music and choral singing. With her rich brew of gospel, jazz, and R&B, Wright made a vivid first impression on her 2003 recording Salt, which became a Billboard jazz chart staple (as did its follow-up, Dreaming Wide Awake, which reached Number One). Wright has also recorded with Joe Sample, Toots Thielemans, Danilo Perez, and David Sanborn. She’s a songwriter of conviction and skill, and has unerring taste in selecting material by writers from Patsy Cline to Fats Waller and the Beatles. Of an appearance with the Count Basie Orchestra, All About Jazz wrote: “Wright held the audience’s rapt attention with her strong contralto voice [and] her depth of expression with fine articulation and spiritual conviction.” Lizz Wright returns to Yoshi’s to celebrate her new CD The Orchard.

Lizz Wright
Mar 6-8
Thursday both shows $20 Friday $24, Saturday both shows $24
Yoshi’s Jazz Club
510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 238-9200

SF Jazz Heritage Center Honors Living Legends of Jazz

sfjazzlegends.jpgF. Allen Smith, George Alexander, Amando Peraza, Frank Lewis, Jazz Heritage Center Executive Director Peter Fitzsimmons, Junius Simmons, Ricardo Lewis, Bobbie Webb, and John Terry Hillard.

John Handy, Frank Jackson and others give Legends Concert at West Bay Conference Center

By Wade Woods

This past Sunday the West Bay Conference Center was filled to capacity as the Jazz Community came out to honor Living Jazz Legends and hear the Living Jazz Legends Concert. Featured in the concert were Frank Jackson (piano & Vocals), John Handy (sax), Denise Perrier (Vocals), Eddie Duran (guitar), Al Obidinski (Bass), Allen Smith (trumpet & flugelhorn), and Akira Tana (drums).
You could tell the Jazz OG’s by their dress, bebop head gear, spit shined shoes, cashmere overcoats, fancy rings, their ladies in fur, and their laid back cool. The event was MC’d by local media personality Noah Griffin. Read more