Cassandra Wilson, Vieux Farka Toure, Renee Wilson & The Marcus Shelby Trio Added to Yoshi's SF Lineup
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by BWW News Desk
Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant on Fillmore Street just added the following concerts at its world-renowned San Francisco venue: Vieux Farka Toure (Sun, Feb 3, 8pm), Odd Owl & Foxtails Brigade (Sun, Feb 10, 7pm), Renee Wilson & The Marcus Shelby Trio (Fat Tuesday, Feb 12, 8pm) and Cassandra Wilson (Thu-Sat, Feb 21-23, 8 & 10pm).
VIEUX FARKA TOURE
Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," Vieux Farka Toure was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.
In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux's manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux's self-titled debut album, Vieux Farka Toure (World Village/2007). Ali Farka Touré's work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba's "Fight Malaria" campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali's musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, 'Courage,' is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).
On his second record, Fondo (Six Degrees/2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to The Roots of his father's music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father's shadow.
In June 2010, Vieux performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, Vieux Farka Toure Live (Six Degrees/2010). His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak eight languages).
In 2011, Vieux released his third studio album, The Secret (Six Degees/2011), so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father.
With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Toure has clearly established himself as one of the world's rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.
ODD OWL & FOXTAILS BRIGADE
Odd Owl: Some bands create music to fit a genre. Others, like San Francisco-based Odd Owl, create a genre to fit their music. "It's pretty hard for us to make music that isn't honest about who we are," says Caruso, Odd Owl's lead singer and keyboardist. "What we create is just an extension of our musical experiences, it's not some role we're trying to play. Besides," she laughs, "I've never been very good at acting anyways." Said to "produce some incredible new era indie music" [Br00d, Neighbors Hate Us], the group's members have fused their musical influences together into their own brand of "indie dance-rock," drawing from genres such as chamber pop, funk, lo-fi, and alternative dance.
Caruso, a classically-trained vocalist with a master's in electro-acoustic music, brings an affinity for funk, 60s pop, and vocal harmony in order to create melodies "that people can put in their pocket and take home with them." Not your usual frontwoman, she also records and produces the band's albums, provides song arrangements, and tinkers with music technology, using a MIDI controller which connects to her laptop on stage. Jacobsen, a self-taught guitarist and also a prolific songwriter, adds Talking Heads-inspired guitar hooks to the mix as well as his love for wordplay. Drummer Adam Wadenius, in his attention to rhythmic detail, adds subtle, rhythmic shifts "so that the listener won't see what's coming next," which keeps their live sound moving dynamically. And Munoz, Odd Owl's bassist, is also a musical Swiss Army knife, playing guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, lap steel, harmonica, jaw harp, mandolin, and even spoons.
Foxtails Brigade presents an ornate kind of chamber pop, intricate violin and cello arrangements are anchored by Laura Weinbach's intricately played classical guitar and pitch perfect vocals. But underneath the simple melodies lie an impeding darkness, a lyrical landscape populated by shadowy and bizarre characters, rife with hints of rot, aging, and death.
RENEE WILSON & THE MARCUS SHELBY TRIO
Proud New Orleans native Reneé Wilson began her professional acting career portraying Raelette Pat Lyle in the Academy Award-winning film Ray, with Jamie Foxx. She has been seen on television, film and stage and recently co-produced and directed Crepe Covered Sidewalks, a documentary film about Hurricane Katrina and her family's experiences with the storm over past five years. Reneé also recently released her debut CD, Voodoo Queen (Foxy As Roz/2010), and "I Was The One" marks the first music video from this album. Currently, Reneé lives in San Francisco and is screening her film at festivals around the country, composing and performing music and working on a tribute piece to one of her biggest influences, Ms. Lena Horne.
Cassandra Wilson is a jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field" by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work. She began playing piano at six, guitar by the age of twelve and was working as a vocalist by the mid-'70s, singing a wide variety of material. After moving to New York City in the early '80s, Cassandra met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released a landmark album titled Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Blue Note/1993), which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenges the supremacy of the American Standard songbook. Wilson has continued interpreting in fresh and creative ways vintage blues, country and folk music up until the present day. Her awards include: two GRAMMYs, theDjango D'Or, The Edison Music Award, a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and the 2012 Echo Award for Jazz. She also performed one of the leading roles in Wynton Marsalis' Blood on the Fields (Sony/1997), the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
All performances are at Yoshi's San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115. For tickets and more information (or to make dinner reservations) call 415-655-5600 or visit www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco.