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Jubu & Legally Blynd 

When: Wed., March 16, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011
Price: $16

Every once in a while, a surprisingly intricate guitar solo will slip through the cracks of an otherwise standard-issue pop song. Often it's the work of songwriter and Berkeley High alum John "Jubu" Smith, who has written for such artists as Kelly Price, Kenny Latimore, Luther Vandross, and Tweet. As the ultimate man behind the curtain, he's had a spectral presence on Top 40 radio for decades, even if his name isn't that well-known. The elegant guitar part that enhances Mario's 2002 hit "Just a Friend," is definitely a Jubu Smith touch. So are the nimble plucked chords on Tweet's popular R&B ballad, "Smoking Cigarettes." In the past few years, though, Smith has attempted to gain more recognition and consolidate his own artistic career, namely as leader of the soul band Legally Blynd. Featuring Smith's brother Eric "Pikfunk" on bass, Errol Cooney on guitar, Chris Johnson on drums, and Carl Wheeler on organ, it's a star-studded cast. Pikfunk served as music director for Rihanna; Cooney collaborates with Ledisi; Wheeler and Jubu currently tour with Frankie Beverly & Maze. Most importantly, though, the band plays all original compositions penned by John Jubu Smith. And for once, he'll get to sing them. At OaklandYoshi's (510 Embarcadero) on Wednesday, Mar. 16.8 & 10 p.m., $16.

— Rachel Swan


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