Chicago-born free jazz saxophonist, Distinguished Darius Milhaud Professor of Music, and all-around idiosyncratic figure Roscoe Mitchell will premiere a series of new orchestral works at Mills College this Saturday, including pieces for string quartet, alto saxophone quartet, saxophone and piano, solo percussion, and chamber orchestra with opera vocal - baritone Thomas Buckner will sing a vocal composition based on the poem "Would You Wear My Eyes," by Beat writer Bob Kaufman. Mitchell is best known as a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, both of which helped consolidate the avant-garde and improvised music scenes that were blooming in Chicago during the 1960s.
It's your weekend. Use it wisely. Here's what's on tap:
Yes, *that* Chris Rock, W. Kamau Bell announced in a mass email sent out this morning, bearing the modest subject line "A Little Bit of Big News." Bell, who has gained local renown both for his ever-evolving solo performance, The W. Kamau Bell Curve, and for his role in the three-person political comedy group, Laughter Against the Machine, has long used race, pop culture, and topical social commentary as his stock-in-trade. He'll traffic in similarly racy themes on his new TV show.
Well, here's an honor to wear proudly: The Bay Area apparently boasts the nation's best odds for finding a sugar daddy, according to what we can only imagine is a totally scientifically sound study just released by the folks behind SeekingArrangement.com, the self-proclaimed "largest Sugar Daddy dating website that have been featured on the likes of Dr. Phil, 20/20, and the New York Times." And what they lack in, say, subject-verb agreement, they clearly make up for in cold, hard data: According to a press release, the company crunched numbers on "density of sugar daddies, and their average annual income, average net-worth and average monthly budget for the sugar lifestyle" for metro areas around the country, ultimately finding that the Bay Area boasts the highest density of sugar daddies — that means, NB, folks registered with the site — nationwide.
In a new Good magazine piece about the DIY Oakland hip-hop crew Sick Sad World, local writer Channing Kennedy claims to have uncovered the "1 percent of the no-budget rap game." The implication, of course, is that the "rap bohemia" he's profiled isn't just the product of artistic ingenuity and youthful enterprise, but that it also relies on a certain degree of hidden privilege. Kennedy articulates that thesis in value-loaded terms - "One Percent" being the most salient of them. He deploys is as shorthand for "elite strata" when it's actually a term for taxpayers with $380,000 adjusted gross income. He also characterizes the members of Sick Sad World as part of a leisure class, arguing that they have the luxury of time, tech know-how, art-school connections, and full Rolodexes to support their full-time arts careers. Moreover, Kennedy argues, most of the "skilled jobs" are held by white dudes. Essentially, he's attempting to portray Sick Sad World as a marriage of white technorati with young African-American prodigies from the 'hood. That's a reductive, idea, and it's not borne out by his evidence.
We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of local trumpeter Khalil Shaheed, who died Friday after a long battle with lung cancer. Raised in Chicago, Shaheed - who was born Tommy Hall - came to California in the Seventies, started gigging in the funk, Latin, and jazz scenes, and quickly consolidated his career as both a leader and sideman. Shaheed rechristened himself after converting to Islam in the Eighties; he also adopted a more ascetic lifestyle and began devoting himself wholeheartedly to community service. In 1994 he founded the music education program Oaktown Jazz Workshops, through which he taught kids how to improvise and perform in a live setting. The program endured for decades as Shaheed continued performing and hosting jam sessions at such now-defunct local clubs as Bluesville and First Stop (so named because it was the first stop in after the Amtrak station, he once told me). He also formed the Mo'Rockin' Project, a world music group that fused Moroccan styles with American jazz.
Happy weekend, cats and kittens. Here's what our critics will be doing, and think you should be, too:
Oakland Running Festival
Whether you commute by car, bus, rollerblades, or any other form of wheeled transport, you’re likely to find yourself outnumbered on Sunday, Mar. 25, when more than 9,000 runners are expected to take to the streets for the third annual Oakland Running Festival. The marathon, which for the first year kicks off and concludes at Snow Park (19th and Harrison sts., Oakland), features a 5K race, four-person relay, kids fun run, and half and full marathons (the latter of which takes contestants on a comprehensive trek through neighborhoods ranging from Fruitvale to Temescal and Montclair). First race starts at 7:30 a.m., $15-$250. 510-371-5273 or OaklandMarathon.com. — Cassie Harwood
Mission Creek Oakland Benefit
Last September's Mission Creek Oakland — the East Bay-offshoot of the long-running San Francisco Mission Creek Music & Arts Festival — injected new life into the independent and underground music celebration. As artists and musicians have been gradually priced out of San Francisco, Oakland has reaped the benefit, and thus it follows that Mission Creek Oakland would be bigger and longer than its West Bay originator. The month-long affair was all the more impressive considering the practically nonexistent budget organizer KiyomiTanouye was working with. To gear up for 2012's event (which the Express will co-present), Mission Creek Oakland will hold a fundraiser on Friday, Mar. 23, at Vitus (201 Broadway, Oakland), featuring AJA, Some Ember (electro pop from Man/Miracle frontman Dylan Travis, shoegaze trio VIR, and Field Trips, whose lo-fi, psychedelic, beachy songs sound like something you'd discover on some dusty cassette from the late-Sixties. 9 p.m., $5. VitusOakland.com — Kathleen Richards
03/17/2012 Austin, TX, Club 1808
We started the last day of SXSW not having a show, we ended it playing a ferocious four song set with more intensity and anger than most bands can muster in their sad, sorry existence. Living like hell ass kings. Brothers doing it for themselves. Bringing the damage. These Things are FACTS.
03/16/2012 Austin, TX, Sidebar
My heart raced as I sprinted through the streets of Austin, TX. Dodging leisurely SXSWers, locals and cops alike, it was literally five minutes before we were supposed to play the label showcase this tour was built around. And we were not only late, but I had to park our tour van in the middle of one of the biggest parking boondoggles of the year. Fantastic! With this accomplished, I dashed through the doors of the Sidebar, and leaped on to the stage. My guitar was already set up and plugged in by my bandmate Evan. Magic time:“Hi We’re Victory and Associates from Oakland and San Francisco, California. This is our first song. It is literally about the idea of a good time and it’s called Plausibly Wild.”
Switch on, suckers.
A recent New York Times headline challenged the canonical placement of pianist Robert Glasper’s new album, Black Radio, by posing the question: “So is it jazz?” Although writer Nate Chinen never came up with a definitive answer, he showed that the question itself was pretty reductive. Glasper argued, diplomatically, that just because his music veers into other styles (namely gospel, hip-hop, and R&B), doesn’t mean it can’t have a strong foothold in the jazz tradition. But I'd put it more bluntly: If you don’t hear the jazz in Black Radio, you’re not listening.