The Back Room welcomes Jazz vocalist Yolandra Rhodes back to the stage.
Yolandra sings with easy grace and confidence, blending hints of Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson and Anita Baker - yet maintains her own brand.
She has performed with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Najee, Yancy Taylor, Lloyd Gregory and many more noted local jazz phenoms.
Be sure you grab your tickets while you can - Yolandra's performances are always a full house.
Tickets are $25 general admission. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available here, or if the show is not sold out, you may purchase your tickets at the door before the show.
Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash or Venmo only at the door.
The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own food and beverages. The venue is ADA accessible. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-381-1997.
Thank you for your support!
Please note: Although masks are no longer required, we strongly encourage their use to keep everyone safe in our intimate space.
Backstage after their 2018 debut show in their adopted hometown of New York City, Shahzad Ismaily asked Arooj Aftab and Vijay Iyer to huddle together and reflect on what had just occurred. “We felt it from the first moment,” remembers Iyer. “We were mystified and almost silent and said: I don’t know what just happened. But we should do that again.” They hadn’t prepared material in advance; the potent chemistry surprised even these seasoned collaborators. A shared focus on collective real-time creation allowed themto weave the bass, piano, and vocals into a breathtakingly unified sound. This was music in the moment.Words couldn’t define it, but the audience felt it, and joined the emotional journey. Staying open to spontaneous co-creation became the band’s defining approach in the half dozen shows they played beforerecording their debut album Individually, their accolades are substantial – vocalist Arooj Aftab, the first Pakistani to win a Grammy,wows audiences worldwide with her mesmerizing live shows; MacArthur genius and Grammy nominee Vijay Iyer is one of today’s most influential pianists; multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily’s sensitivity and technical acumen has made him a legend among musicians like the late Lou Reed for whom he was a session player. Yet the marvel here is how ego disappears as the three players merge to create a singular,gorgeous sound One key factor is how Aftab employs her otherworldly voice as another instrument in the ensemble. “I’m mostly using the words to get the sound out,” she says. “I’m not thinking about telling a story.” The voice-as-wind-instrument gels with the synth/keys combination of Iyer and Ismaily that flow together like sunlight and shadow More broadly, by trusting in real-time creation – and each other – the band is able to cross-pollinates pontaneity with the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime in music. As Ismaily puts it, “I feel like we're subtly cueing listeners to say, Live like this. Love In Exile. Three world-class musicians meet in New York City to forge a singular voice that takes their distinct backgrounds and vast histories of collaboration as a starting point. From there they explore one-of-a-kind performances defined by a sense of timeless beauty and sudden surprise alike. - Written by Jace Clayton
The acclaimed All-Star instrumental ensemble, famous for interpretations of classic Grateful Dead songs with jazz influences, returns in 2023 to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Co-founder Alphonso Johnson will be joined by Steve Kimock, Pete Lavezzoli & Bobby Lee Rodgers, performing Grateful Dead’s ‘Wake of The Flood’ marking it’s 50th Anniversary, in addition to other beloved selections. Jazz Is Dead XXV ‘reunites’ two greats! Steve Kimock & Alphonso Johnson, who together in heavyweight post-Garcia Grateful Dead off-shoot The Other Ones together with Bob Weir, commanded the instrumental prowess of that band. Formed in 1998 by bassist Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report, Santana, Bobby & The Midnites, The Other Ones), drummer Billy Cobham (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bobby & The Midnites), keyboardist T Lavitz (Dixie Dregs) & guitarist Jimmy Herring (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Widespread Panic), with drummers Rod Morgenstern (Dixie Dregs) & Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon) replacing Cobham in1999, and guitarist Jeff Pevar (CSN, David Crosby CPR, Phil Lesh & Friends) replacing Herring in 2000, recorded 3 acclaimed albums, the second of which ‘Laughing Water’ in 1999 was in fact an instrumental ‘Wake of The Flood’ reinterpretation -so there is precedent. That album also featured Derek Trucks, Donna Jean Godchaux & Vassar Clements. On Laughing Water, the fusion ensemble Jazz Is Dead one-ups the band that it sets out to honor. Laughing Water is a superior remake of the Grateful Dead's rather ordinary rock album Wake of the Flood. Fortunately, you don't have to be a Deadhead to appreciate this album. Laughing Water not only fuses jam-rock with jazz, but it possesses a country-bluesy Americana flavor. The songs on Laughing Water are long and improvisational, but they seldom grow boring. From a purely technical standpoint, each musician in Jazz Is Dead is a superior player to his counterpart in the Grateful Dead. But unlike many pop-jazz remakes of rock albums, Laughing Water manages to capture the rock 'n roll animus of the original. The communal carefree spirit of tie-died counter culturalism lives on in this music. Not only should Deadheads come away happy, but fusion freaks and aficionados of improvisational rock should, too.–Ed Kopp, All About Jazz 1999
Valerie Troutt Projects presents the first ever “Because of Black Music IAM” Festival, Because of Black Music IAM (BOBM), is a two-day music festival in celebration of Black Music Month being held on June 10th and 11th, 2023. BOBM is a soulful conversation piece developed to bring together local artists, industry professionals, and the community to make connections and create awareness about the impact of Black music and the need to establish new music industry infrastructures ensuring the longevity of not only Black music but Black Artists. The festival will include an artist’s Soulfood brunch, a mixer, a panel, and two live music concerts. This festival has been made possible by grants and donations from The Akonadi Foundation, The Eastbay Community Fund, The African American Art and Culture Complex SF, and The Queer Cultural Center of San Francisco, ca. June 10th, 2023 - Day 1, Location: Geoffery's Inner Circle Brunch 10am-2pm Brunch is Free for the first 25 people to purchase tickets. Brunch tickets are a seperate cost outside of the ticket price, and can be purchased at the bar the day of the event. I believe they are $20. 12:30 pm-2 pm The artist panel includes Ethnomusicologist Dr. Niva Flor, Author Andrew Gilbert, Producer Bosco of HIWAA, Vocalist Magenta Jazz, Pianist, Composer, and Educator Cava Menzie. 2pm-5pm Concert lineup includes; SF Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, Singer SoLauren, Rapper JWalt, Saxophonist Howard Wiley, and Valerie Troutt’s MoonCandy Live Music Ensemble. June 11th, 2023 - Day 2 Private Location (address to be given the day of the event) 3pm-6pm Concert lineup includes Singer-songwriter Aime Cota, Poet Marvin K. White, Singer-songwriter Cadence Myles, and The Valerie Troutt JazzSoul Quartet featuring poet Joyce Lee.
Dinner Available for Purchase Full Bar and Lounge Advance sales end at 5pm on 8/5, cover there after is $20 per person at the door
The musical collaboration of the year between 16 year old Tenor Saxophonist Ayo Brame, Poet Shawn William, Jazz & Soul band N.T.B. and singer Sunday was a spellbinding fusion of jazz, spoken word, and soulful vocals. Ayo Brame's virtuosity on the saxophone was the foundation for the rest of the group, with Shawn William's thought-provoking poetry seamlessly weaving in and out of the melodies. The jazz and soul band N.T.B. provided a warm yet complex backdrop for the other artists to layer their talents upon. And Sunday's soulful vocals added an extra layer of emotion, taking the music to soaring heights. The result was a musical masterpiece, a testament to the power of collaboration and a showcase of the artist's finest abilities.
Free HOUSE drink with each advance purchased ticket!! Dinner Available for Purchase Full Bar and Lounge Jam Session/Open Mic Immediately Following the Show Advance sales end at 5pm on 6/11, cover there after is $15 per person without a free drink
Times change and trends come and go, but -- like a 1961 Jaguar XK-E -- the classic sounds of the past only appreciate with age. Postmodern Jukebox's Life In The Past Lane Concert Tour is a celebration of the greatest 20th century musical genres, fused with the recognizable hits of our own modern era, for the perfect patina of "vintage" and "modern." As always, we'll be bringing the PMJ Universe to life with a cast full of today's most exciting vocalists, instrumentalists, and tap dancers, to bring you the top-shelf entertainment experience for which PMJ is known. Whether you're a vinyl aficionado or a TikTok fashionista, catch a ride with us for an unforgettable trip through 100 years of timeless music. More info: https://postmodernjukebox.com/faq/
The Mantra of the Friends? “Go put a smile on somebody’s face, go tell somebody they’ve got a place in this world, go tell somebody you wanna be friends with them.” For as much as Sammy Rae & The Friends may be a band, this collective of dreamers and artists considers themselves a family first. Fronted by singer and songwriter Sammy Rae, the group flourishes in any spotlight with a combination of all-for-one and one-for-all camaraderie, palpable chemistry, deft virtuosity, and vocal fireworks. Their sound is a mélange of Sammy’s influences, rooted in classic rock, folk, and funk and sprinkled with soul and jazz. Complete with a rhythm section, two saxophones, keyboards, and plenty of percussion, Sammy Rae & The Friends have delivered their high-energy, spirited and unrestrained shows to sold-out audiences around the US and Europe. Their newest single, “Closer To You,” arrives just as Sammy Rae & The Friends gear up for gigs this summer at SummerStage NYC and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, with a world tour scheduled for Fall 2023.
After over a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all five of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, 2021, and 2023), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.” Snarky Puppy is a collective of sorts with as many as 20 members in regular rotation. At its core, the band represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world. Japan, Argentina, Canada and the United Kingdom all have representation in the group’s membership. But more than the cultural diversity of the individual players, the defining characteristic of Snarky Puppy’s music is the joy of performing together in the perpetual push to grow creatively. Their latest Grammy® winning album – Empire Central – was released in September 2022. Its sound is big and bold, chill and laid back, rooted in its native culture while reaching outward, forward bound. With 16 new compositions, the group looks fondly at where it’s come from, confident in the polished power from which its members continue to build the unique Snarky Puppy sound. The sound now rises like a skyscraper from a 21st century orchestra comprising three guitarists, four keyboardists, two brass, two reeds, a violinist, multiple percussionists and drummers and the accomplished, yet modest, Michael League keeping it all together with his bass. “Our soundscape has expanded dramatically over the years” says League. “When the band started, we were jazzier, brainy and music oriented. Moving into the Dallas scene we became groovier, more emotional, deeper in a sense. We focused more on communicating a clear message, understandable to a listener without dumbing things down”. “Snarky Puppy has always been a band that prioritizes the sound of music” says League. “On this record the songs ended up being a lot more direct and funkier than those on our previous records. I think it reflects the many moods of the city’s scene”. “Our rule is that it can’t sound like it sounded before” he continues, “the music has to feel like it’s moving somewhere” And moving somewhere it most definitely is. Empire Central shouts from the rooftops how far Snarky Puppy have come since ten friends got together at the University of North Texas in 2004. It also raises the question – where will Snarky Puppy go next? For Snarky Puppy fans, the answer to this question is a very exciting prospect.
With film credits including “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day,” “The Fly,” “The Big Chill,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Thor: Ragnarok;” theatre performances including “The Pillowman,” “Speed the Plow” and “Domesticated;” and television show “The World According to Jeff Goldblum”, television appearances including “Portlandia” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Will & Grace,” Jeff Goldblum also plays jazz with his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Whether performing regularly in Los Angeles, or elsewhere, Goldblum will take your questions, ask you trivia questions, and play classic jazz. This performance will feature Goldblum on piano, John Storie on guitar, Alex Frank on bass, Joe Bagg on organ, James King and Scott Gilman on saxophones and Kenny Elliott on drums. Jeff and the band have a new album coming out on March 24, 2023 on Decca Records. This will be the band’s 3rdrecord, all on Decca.
Diana Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. To date, her albums have garnered two Grammy® Awards, ten Juno® Awards and have also earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums. Krall’s unique artistry transcends any single musical style and has made her one of the most recognizable artists of our time. As The New York Times recently noted Krall possesses, “A voice at once cool and sultry, wielded with a rhythmic sophistication” Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which is outside of Vancouver, Krall grew up in the western part of Canada and began studying the piano when she was four years old. By the time she was 15, she was performing jazz locally and with the encouragement of her father, a stride pianist with a vast knowledge of such Twenties and Thirties keyboard masters as Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Earl Hines, she devoted herself to music. “I think Dad had every recording Fats Waller ever made,” she says, “and I tried to learn as many as I could.” Krall was still a teenager when she was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. After two years in Boston, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her first jazz heavyweights, including bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton, pianist/singer Jimmy Rowles, and Ray Brown, the legendary bassist who served as her musical mentor. In 1993, the Montreal-based Justin Time Records released her debut album, Stepping Out. The following year she signed with GRP Records and recorded Only Trust Your Heart, which featured Ray Brown on bass and Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone. Only Trust Your Heart also marked the beginning of her association with Tommy LiPuma, a collaboration that would continue until LiPuma’s untimely passing in 2017. Krall’s success continued with her subsequent releases All for You, and Love Scenes but her watershed moment came in 1999 with the release of When I Look in Your Eyes, her first release for the historic Verve record label. The recording spent an unprecedented 52 weeks in the #1 position on Billboard’s Jazz chart, won two Grammy Awards and went platinum in the U.S. and Canada. Krall’s next album, The Look of Love, continued her international success and became a top ten seller on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts. Since then she has released a string of recordings that have created an impressive body of work, including her critically acclaimed Turn Up The Quiet, which won two Juno Awards including “Producer of the Year.” Love Is Here To Stay found Diana collaborating with her long-time friend and colleague Tony Bennett. It was recorded with the Grammy award winning Bill Charlap Trio and the stunning result is a subtle, sophisticated and beautifully rendered love letter to The Gershwins’ music and their status as one of the premiere songwriters of the American popular standard. It is a masterclass in vocal delivery and phrasing and the command that Bennett and Krall display of the material in both their duets and solo tracks makes it appear effortless, belying the honed skills of the vocalists. The duet tracks include “Love Is Here to Stay,” “S’Wonderful,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” among them. Her most recent release, This Dream Of You, has garnered critical acclaim from fans and press alike. This album is a loving conclusion of Diana’s 25-year working relationship with Tommy LiPuma. Shortly before LiPuma’s passing, the producer and artist discussed the abundance of great music recorded at their last sessions together. LiPuma was adamant that this music should be completed and issued. Krall and engineer, Al Schmitt therefore mixed and sequenced the album for the 2020 release and as such, honored their great and much-missed friend. From this release came the worldwide premiere of “Autumn In New York,” a cinematic ode to the city, directed by Diana’s long-time collaborator and friend Mark Seliger, offering a visual compliment to Krall’s loving and hopeful performance of the song. Diana Krall’s recordings have been included in several film soundtracks and she has expanded upon her role as a performer to include songwriting, producing and arranging and has brought her talents to collaborate with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett. She tours extensively around the globe to sold out audiences, appearing at premiere jazz festivals and concert halls throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The bluesFem Project: SMILE ORANGE is a musical experience arranged and directed by Bay Area jazz luminary, Dee Spencer, combining the 1976 film Smile Orange with a live performance of the soundtrack composed by trombonist Melba Liston. Spencer’s arrangement combines soul, R&B, jazz, pop and blues with traditional Jamaican sounds and pays homage to two great artists: Author Trevor D. Rhone (1940–2009) and Melba Liston (1926–1999). Sketches of the original scores are archived at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where Spencer accessed Liston’s manuscripts. Previously, Spencer was a member of a group of four researchers called the Melba Liston Collective and served as Liston’s music copyist in NYC in the summer of 1982. Smile Orange is a satirical farce about the daily lives of native Jamaicans working in the tourism industry. Rhone’s title is embedded in Jamaican tradition and mythology. Inside this slapstick comedy is commentary about the social conditions of the Jamaican workforce with sharp comparisons to slavery. The characters of Smile Orange, who work at the fictitious Mondo Beach Hotel, must use their “smiles” as tools for survival. According to a myth dating back to the slave trade period, eating oranges causes sterility. The orange growers used this to preserve the crop. Interestingly, oranges are enjoyed by everyone throughout the film. Dee Spencer Dee Spencer is an active performer, composer/arranger, and music director. She holds a B.S. in Music Education from Florida A&M where she majored in oboe performance. Dee received an M.M. from Washington University in St. Louis and Ed.D from the University of San Francisco. Her composition “Sweet Emma B” was commissioned for the 11th JEN Annual Conference held in New Orleans, LA in 2020. Dee’s performance credits include Grammy-Award winner Ledisi, jazz legends John Handy, Regina Carter, Jimmy Scott, Louis Bellson and Clark Terry. Her solo piano recording “Tranquility” was released in 2018. Dee recently served as a panelist for the 2023 Grammy Educator of the Year Award. Artist Biographies SMILE ORANGE: A BluesFEM FILM MUSIC EXPERIENCE Keyboardist/Vocalist Dee Spencer will present a live performance of a film score written by jazz legend Melba Liston. An excerpt of the film SMILE ORANGE will be shown as the live score is performed. Dee will provide information about the background of the soundtrack and the composer Melba Liston.