by Wanda Sabir
McCoy Tyner Trio
I’ve been just as busy as ever this week. Dropped in to see the McCoy Tyner Trio with Marc Ribot on guitar. Tyner is always a treat and this ensemble featuring Gerald Cannon on bass and Eric Kamau Gravett on drums is phenomenal! I recall these men last year about this time with special guest Savion Glover on tap. The interplay between Gravett and Glover was percussively inventive and Tuesday night in Oakland, one could certainly say the same, as the men wowed us on each song – most, if not all, from the Tyner canon with the occasional Ellington thrown in for class. Tyner remarked that he was happy that he’d been able to experience such great music live. There is a lot to be said for visceral engagement. The Tyner Trio with Marc Ribot certainly touches this chord in us. Check him out this week Yoshi’s in Oakland.
Free reggae music at Bruno’s
I was supposed to go see Bela Fleck and the Fleck Tones the following night and from getting home at 1 a.m. to rising after a couple of hours to prepare for my radio show Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 6 a.m., I was tired, too tired to go to see bassist Victor Lamont in San Francisco. I was falling asleep about 9 p.m., but when I got to San Francisco and a friend invited me dancing at Bruno’s on Mission at 20th Street, where they have DJ Reggae on Wednesday evenings … the music and the groove got me and I danced for a few hours. Well, maybe two. I really had a good time. It was a much better experience than reggae night at a club in Alameda where not only did they charge us $15 at 12 midnight, the DJ’s selection and the door charged the three of us different prices: two at $15 and the third at $10.
‘Quality of Life’ at ACT
Thursday, you would have thought I’d stay home and recuperate; nope. I kept thinking about the play at ACT’s Geary Theatre, “Quality of Life,” and decided to go check it out. Phenomenal piece! I highly recommend it. Both the writing and the visual imagery – a clearing after a forest fire inhabited by a man who is dying from cancer is a metaphor which unfolds slowly and then wraps itself back up again. It is moving and thought provoking. One leaves appreciating the moments she has left on the planet and why we should waste none of it. It closes Sunday, Nov. 23.
Robert King at Babylon Falling
Tonight, Friday, Nov. 21, I have a dilemma, there are three or four things I could be doing – all of them wonderful, from going to see McCoy Tyner again at Yoshi’s to Marcus Shelby Quartet featuring Jaz Sawyer on drums, Howard Wiley on saxes and Shelby on bass, with singers Ms. Faye Carol and Kenny Washington performing “Harriett Tubman & Jazz” at the Jazz School in Berkeley, 2087 Addison. This event starts at 8 p.m.
Okay, so that’s two events. In San Francisco there is a book signing and reading at Babylon Falling Book Store, 1017 Bush at Jones, with Robert H. King, author of “From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Black Panther Robert Hillary King.” This event is at 7 p.m.
Sila and AfroFunk
Sila and the AfroFunk Experience hit Berkeley tonight at Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center on San Pablo at Gilman. I was thinking about dropping by the club after the reading which features special guests like Malik Rahim Jr. and Rigo 23.
Toni Morrison on West Coast Live
Tomorrow morning, West Coast Live is broadcasting from Head Royce School in Oakland and features as guests Toni Morrison, Bela Fleck and Linda Tillary and the Cultural Heritage Ensemble. Now this should be hot! Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the show is from 10-12 noon.
I am going to be in the audience. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Toni Morrison. The one time she was here, Marcus Books hosted her and I don’t remember her speaking.
Nas in the Bay
On Thursday, Nov. 28, Nas and special guest Goapele are at the Warfield on Market in San Francisco. The concert is at 8 p.m. Tickets – $39, $47 and $55 – are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Saturday evening, Nov. 23, 8 p.m., at the Grand Ballroom, 1290 Sutter St. at Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, Zion I and other headliners perform.
I’ve got to get ready for the Babylon Falling event. I am reading from King’s book and need to figure out what passage I’d like to share. There is no reason to stay home any night, especially tonight! Did I mention Black Rep’s season opener, “Sincerella”?
Oh, and I heard that Donald Lacy – KPOO Saturday morning host, founder of the Love Life Foundation and author of “Color Struck” – has a new show premiering at the Buriel Clay Theatre, 762 Fulton St. near Webster in San Francisco. It’s “Attitude of Gratitude: Touched by Cancer,” at 7:30 p.m., $15 but no one turned away for lack of funds. It’s multilingual – English, Spanish and Cantonese – and was conceived and developed in collaboration with San Francisco General Hospital’s cancer survivors.
Hip Hop Dance Festival
Oh, another thing, the Hip Hop Dance Festival is also this weekend, starts Friday night and goes through Sunday, Nov. 23. The shows are all at the Palace of Fine Arts on Lyon Street near the Golden Gate Bridge, off Lombard. It shares the site with the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The Saturday evening show looks really good.
College of Alameda Big Band with Nicolas Bearde
The College of Alameda Jazz Big Band under the direction of Professor Glen Pearson, with special guest, vocalist Nicolas Bearde, perform at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston St. in downtown Berkeley. Admission is $10 general and $5 for students.
Poetry at Rebecca’s Books
This Sunday, Nov. 23, 3 p.m. Avotcja hosts her regular poetry reading at Rebecca’s Books, located on Adeline at Alcatraz, 3 p.m. Karla Brundage, author of the collection, “Swallowing Watermelons,” and poet, scholar, Rafael Gonzalez are featured, followed by an open mic.
Wanda’s Picks Radio Nov. 21
I had a blast this morning on the air. I interviewed Glen Pearson and Nicolas Bearde. Also on the air this morning was Marcus Shelby and Felicia Benefield. Felicia is currently in the Cutting Ball Theatre‘s production of the Absurdist play by the father of the genre: Eugene Ionesco. Directed by Rob Melrose, “Victim of Duty” is one of Ionesco’s more autobiographical plays. It is also Miss Benefield’s farewell performance, as she is on her way to Belgium and grad school. “Victim” closes Sunday, Nov. 23, with a 5 p.m. curtain. Friday and Saturday the show starts at 8 p.m. The company is a resident at the Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor in San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$30.
Listen to my show any time at Wanda’s Picks Radio Show. At the top of the hour, we spoke to Robert King, Geronimo ji jaga, Gail Shaw and Malik Rahim about Albert Woodfox’s case, continuing our conversation about the case of Woodfox, Herman Wallace and Robert King, collectively known as the Angola 3.
Presently, Albert Woodfox’ case is up for review and dismissal, yet he has not been released. This morning we addressed Woodfox’ legal team’s procedural direction and Woodfox’ safety at the institution as his release looms near. Robert King and Gail Shaw shared portions of letters and conversations with Woodfox.
King is the only exonerated member of the Angola 3 and the recently published author of his autobiography, “From the Bottom of the Heap.” Learn more at www.kingsfreelines.com, www.angola3.org and www.a3grassroots.org. Dr. Shaw is co-founder of It’s About Time, an organization which preserves and promotes through exhibits and educational conferences the legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Geronimo ji jaga is a former political prisoner, humanitarian and co-founder of the Kuji Foundation in Tanzania. Malik Rahim, co-founder of Common Ground Relief, is the Green Party candidate for Congress from New Orleans; the election is Dec. 6.
Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website and blog at www.wandaspicks.com for an expanded version of Wanda’s Picks, her photos and her radio show.