I suppose it was only a matter of time until I decided to try tracking the jazz activities at Bird & Beckett Books and Records
on a monthly basis. The “bleeding edge” events held at this venue account for only a fraction of the opportunities to listen to well-performed jazz. Those opportunities deserve more thorough treatment. For those who do not already know Bird & Beckett is located at 653 Chenery Street, a short walk from the Glen Park station for both Muni and BART. In general, there tends to be no admission charge; but anyone attending will be informed that donations are appreciated. Any exceptions to this basic rule of thumb will be indicated in the descriptions of specific events.
Thursday, May 30, 8 p.m.: This will be an opportunity to celebrate the Warriors with Latin Jazz. Percussionist Annette A. Aguilar will lead a quartet in which she, Murray Low on piano, and Greg Brown on bass will provide rhythm for flutist Chloe Scott. The music is expected to continue through 10:45 p.m. There will be a $15 cover charge, but it will be modulated by a sliding scale for those in need.
Friday, May 31, 5:30 p.m.: Bird & Beckett has arranged several series that are usually scheduled at the same time on the same day of the week. Friday is the day for the jazz in the bookshop series. This particular event in the series will be led by flutist John Calloway leading a group he calls the Hired Guns. Those players include rhythm provided by Ken Cook on piano and Alan Hall of drums, along with vocalist Angie Doctor. This particular gig will feature a special bass player joining the rhythm section, Marcus Shelby.
Friday, May 31, 9 p.m.: That same evening will feature a separate late show featuring vocalist Judy Butterfield. She leads a group called Mean to Me, whose other members are trumpeter Dave Shaff and pianist Ben Slater. For this particular gig, rhythm will be fleshed out by Scott Foster on guitar, Sam Heminger on bass, and Cairo McCockran on drums. The group is named after the popular song composed by Fred E. Ahlert with lyrics by Roy Turk. Billie Holiday is probably the vocalist best associated with song. On her 1937 recording she was accompanied by tenor saxophonist Lester Young and Teddy Wilson on drums; and Young would later record an instrumental version with his trio of Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums. However, the inspirations for the Mean to Me combo come from later artists, such as pianists Thelonious Monk and Ahmad Jamal and bassist Charles Mingus.
Saturday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.: The jazz club! series on Saturday nights will feature tenor saxophonist Patrick Wolff leading two different groups. The first set will be taken by a quartet in which Wolff has rhythm backing from Richard Sears on piano, Josh Thurston Milgrom on bass, and Hamir Atwal on drums. For the second set the front line will be extended to include Matt Renzi on reeds and Erik Jekabson on trumpet.
Sunday, June 2, 4:30 p.m.: The Sunday afternoon performances are known simply as the “Sunday concert series.” Tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer, currently based in Brooklyn, will lead a “transcontinental” trio, whose other two members are based in San Francisco. These will be Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and Kjell Nordeson on percussion. There will be a $20 cover charge, but it will be modulated by a sliding scale for those in need.
Tuesday, June 4, 7:30 p.m.: Tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser will lead his New York Quintet. In this case all of the players are from New York. Fowser will share the front line with trumpeter Josh Bruneau. Rhythm will be provided by Peter Zak on piano, Vince Dupont on bass, and James Gallagher on drums. Cover charge will be $25.
Friday, June 7, 5:30 p.m.: jazz in the bookshop will present the Locomotive Sunflower trio of Darren Johnston on trumpet, Wil Blades on organ, and Jon Arkin on drums.
Saturday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.: jazz club! will present a septet led by pianist Adam Shulman. Shulman tends to bring a historical perspective to his programming. He will perform some new original tunes; but the prevailing style will be that of Fifties jazz in Los Angeles, as represented by musicians such as saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. The other members of the septet have not yet been announced.
Friday, June 14, 5:30 p.m.: jazz in the bookshop will present the Reunion Quartet led by saxophonist Jerry Logas with rhythm provided by Alan Steger on piano, Paul Breslin on bass, and Bob Blankenship on drums.
Saturday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.: Renzi will return, this time leading his Shoebox Orchestra Trio, with which he made his Bird & Beckett debut in December of 2016. For this jazz club! event he will share the front line with guest artist Jekabson. The other members of the trio are drummer Atwal and Peter Barshay on bass.
[added 6/17, 11:55 a.m.:
Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m.: J.Lee (who performs as captjrab) and Kevin Van Yyserloo will be performing a full-evening piece entitled Motor Skills using external found sound sources and homemade sculptures processed through modular synthesizers to create light industrial ambient soundscapes.
Friday, June 21, 5:30 p.m.: jazz in the bookshop will present the Scott Foster Quartet, led by guitarist Foster. The other members will be Ben Stolorow on piano, Adam Gay on bass, and Omar Aran on percussion. Aran’s arrangements will be featured, and the program will include vocals by Sandra Aran.
Saturday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.: jazz club! will present a somewhat unconventional trio led by bassist Frank Tusa. What he calls the Passing Dreams trio includes guitaist Randy Vincent; but what makes the trio unconventiona is that percussion will be provided by tabla player William Rossel. Rossel is disciple of tabla master Swapan Chaudhuri.]
[added 6/17, 12:55 p.m.:
Sunday, June 23, 4:30 p.m.: Composer and guitarist Karl Evangelista will lead a quintet of through Labas, an avant-garde composition. This project grew out of his effort to examine his own “Filipinoness” in the abstract by drawing upon both African and Western musical concepts. The other members of the quintet will be Corey Wright (alto saxophone), Crystal Pascucci (cello), Rei Scampavia (keyboards), and Jordan Glenn (drums).
Thursday, June 27, 8 p.m.: This will be another quartet performance. Once again, the leader will be a bassist, this time Giulio Xavier Cetto. The other members of the quartet will be Remy Le Boeuf on saxophone, Javier Santiago on piano, and Malachi Whitson on drums.]
Saturday, June 29, 7:30 p.m.: The Jazz Philanthropists Union will present a special performance by the Rova Saxophone Quartet: Bruce Ackley (soprano), Larry Ochs (tenor), Steve Adams (alto), and Jon Raskin (baritone).