Saturday, August 12, 2017

An Innovative “Jazz++” Series at Bird & Beckett

I have to confess that my efforts to put out the word about performances at Bird & Beckett Books and Records has been a sometime thing. Basically, I took what I could get through the services of the BayImproviser Calendar. However, by virtue of my having found a Facebook Events post, I have discovered that there is far more to the performance side of things at Bird & Beckett than I could possibly have imagined. As a result of following a hyperlink on that post, I discovered that there are five different ongoing series of jazz gigs.

Rather than try to follow all of them exhaustively, I would like to dwell on one particular series with the intriguing name which way west? This is a weekly concert series that runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons and has been around since 2007, making it the second weekly series that Bird & Beckett launched. While jazz is the basic genre, this series was explicitly conceived to accommodate a number of traditional forms beyond jazz. Admission is by a suggested donation of $10, which is requested of adults but not children. For those not familiar with Bird & Beckett, the shop is located at 653 Chenery Street, a short walk from the Glen Park station for both Muni and BART. The collections of books and records are pretty impressive, so be prepared for the urge to buy something there! Meanwhile, here are the which way west? events for the remainder of this month:

August 13: Tomorrow’s gig will be a straight-ahead session (probably in two sets) by the Robert Overbury Trio, led by Overbury on bass playing with Keith Saunders at the piano and Tony Johnson on drums:

Keith Saunders and Robert Overbury (courtesy of Bird & Beckett)

August 20: Born in Bayonne, New Jersey and originally based in New York City, guitarist Marlina Teich can be described as a jazz artist who has definitely found her way west. She holds a California Teaching Credential; and she has applied it to teach, among other things, jazz ensembles and solo jazz and blues guitar performance at San Quentin Prison. She leads a quartet whose other members are Richard Saunders on bass, John Fisher on drums, and a remaining member on either horn or piano. On this occasion that fourth member will be Madaline Duran on tenor saxophone.

August 27: The final concert of the month will probably be the most adventurous. It will involve two St. Louis musicians visiting for a free jazz jam with three major Bay Area improvisers. This quintet will be led by one of the two visitors from St. Louis, George Sams, who will alternate between trumpet and flugelhorn:

George Says with his flugelhorn (courtesy of Bird & Beckett)

The other visitor will be clarinetist Eric Mandat. The “local talent” will consist of India Cooke on violin, Andre St. James on bass, and Donald Robinson on drums.

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