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Harry S. Pariser

Harry S. Pariser

Sunday nights are not known for attracting crowds for a 9 PM show. However, a show by Los Van Van, the songo group dubbed the “Rolling Stones of Salsa”, proved to be an exception. During four nights at Yoshi’s, a jazz and contemporary music club in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, the Cuban band drew packed crowds. On this particular Sunday evening, the dance floor was packed with a coterie of enthusiastic dancers. Los Van Van was founded in December 1969 by bassist Juan Formell (who did not make the tour: see below) along with fellow conservatory-educated musicians. Amalgamating the sounds of soul, disco, rock, and funk,with the rhythms...
He beckons on the cover, seated at the piano, an imposing figure in a yellow Moroccan shirt and cap. The CD opens to show him grinning and seated at the keys. The liner notes are by the author of the best biography of Thelonious Monk. The recording is a solid set of compositions, all but one written by him and many dating back decades. At 84, Randy is still going strong, after more than a half century of composing and performing. More than 50 CDs and albums in, he still has something to say, as
Adventurous has always been the word for the music of Matthew Shipp, and Art of the Improviser his new two-CD set is no exception. At first glance, the purple-and-black cover, with its solid-set lettering, appears to be two disks of Matt solo, but it turns out to be two dates: one in a trio with drummer Whit Dickey and bassist Mike Bisio (recorded in Troy, New York) and a second solo at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. Both contain reworkings of previously recorded tunes, and there are two lov
One of two recent releases on Motema by Geri Allen, Geri Allen & Timeline Live is not your usual live recording of a quartet date. Geri, a renowned contemporary pianist, is…
On this solo CD, Geri Allen doesn’t hide her influences. The cover proclaims it "inspired by Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock." It definitely is. Yet this ether…
Around 1993, I turned on KUSF, the San Francisco iconoclastic radio station located at the University of San Francisco, and found myself in the middle of an interview with …
Those familiar with her work will find OYO, Angelique Kidjo’s new CD, to be familiar in style yet distinctive in content. While its title comes from the name of…
Together with bassist Joe Morris and drummer Whit Dickey, accomplished Matthew Shipp has forged a sequel to the trio’s first CD Piano Vortex. Harmonic Disorde…
Friday the 13th is not generally looked upon as an auspicious day. However this particular Friday the 13th proved both felicitous and fortuitous for those salseros and salseras fortunate enough to attend the 70th anniversary performance by the legendary Cuban conjunto band Orquesta Aragon. For fans of this legendary ensemble, also known as La Madre de las Charangas Cubanas (The Mother of The Cuban Charangas) as well as La Charanga Eterna, this was a special evening, one those in attendance will
Toumani Diabate, the great Malian kora player, rarely makes it to these shores, so his recent performance at Yoshis in Oakland was a stellar occasion.

Known for his virtuosity, Diabate is a living master of the kora, the 21-string West African harp made of wood,metal, and a large calabash gourd. The kora has a characteristic sound, one that is hard to categorize. As he illustrated during the portion of the show when he talked to the audience about his instrument, he plays it with his thumbs a

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