Coming April 20th 2019 a creative, diverse Jazz chamber-like Improvisational music in an all-female band . I will be chatting with the founder and leader of this band of stellar musicians, Ms. Nioka Workman and the Firey String Sistas, they also include the offspring of legendary jazz musicians.. follow us on http://www.hipstersanctuary.com
Robert J. Carmack – KARL LEE the reporter from Ebony Magazine. Robert is a veteran of the theater, producer, writer, poet and musician. Mr. Carmack has over 5 decades in the entertainment field as musician, show producer, promoter or journalist in the genres of Jazz,classic soul, and pop.
Mr. Carmack has worked for, or, with such jazz luminaries as Freddie Hubbard, Doug Carn, Andy Bey, Sonny Fortune, Freddie Cole, Vanessa Rubin and McCoy Tyner. He founded and co-founded the Atlanta International Jazz Society, and SFBAAAM( San Francisco Bay Area African-American Musicians) a forum of musicians that created their own venues to play in the Bay area. Returning back to Los Angeles after 12 years , Mr. Carmack has organized a Charlie Parker 21 sax salute on Bird’s birthday nationwide salute east & west coast. a tribute to Blue note producer & composer Duke Pearson ,Bobby Hutcherson/Jackie McLean in Los Angeles. Last year He re-created his popular character from The Club Alabam in 2014,(ROBBY ROYALE) to a sell out audience of NAACP Award winning musical, North On South Central Avenue. Carmack grew up in Los Angeles, attended Centennial high school in Compton, Graduated B.A – Theater Arts /Communications at Cal State Dominguez Hills. returning later on in life to grab his MFA-Theater Directing/Production Columbia University,New York. Robert co-founded the awarding-winning Paul Robeson Players while still attending under-grad college classes. The drama group went on to represent the state of California at the FESTAC, World Arts Festival, Lagos, Nigeria.
I wrote “Interview” out of frustration with the film version that came out a few years ago. However, I looked at the presentation, not as a traditional play or musical , More of an avant-garde /experimental theater type with music, spoken word and dramatic dialog. No set changes, or curtains . its driven by the power of the actors on stage, Nina Simone’s great social protest songs and her important role in the civil rights era. The most unsung of all the characters who played a role during that period.
We begin the story in real-time August 11,1965 inside the lounge of a Pasadena Hotel…
Jana Wilson- NINA SIMONE, a Los Angeles native, began her thespian adventures on the runways of Los Angeles, donning designer couture fashions. She modeled through college and sporadically, thereafter. Music has always been in her soul, as both parents were talented musicians, in their own right. Her brother plays bass guitar. Her father played jazz piano and her mother continues singing jazz. It’s only likely that Jana would have a love for music, with such rich influences.
Jana began singing in her church choir, then, sitting in on secular band rehearsals, which led to one song, then years of performing three nights weekly, as the featured vocalist, in the 4 Star Award winning Supper Club,The Sky Room in Long Beach CA . Since then, she’s been professionally performing with various local jazz and R&B groups. Her performance interests led to the theater, where she was cast as Billie Holiday, and additional characters, in the award-winning musical stage play, “North On South Central Avenue.”
“Music, performance arts, television… there are so many interests, gifts and abilities to put to good use. The world is a big stage, and I hope to take a few bows, while I’m here!” – Jana
Bobby Pierce, Music Director/Pianist – the former Columbus, Ohio born musician, now a Los Angeles resident is a musician’s musician. Known for his laid-back demeanor and style in personality. He elects to allow his fingers to do his speaking for him. He spent many years in Chicago and New York, working with virtually a Who’s Who in Jazz and Gospel.
Bobby has graced the stage with some of Jazz’s royal members such as Benny Carter, James Moody, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Etta James, and Della Reese along with POP & Soul stars too. Four Tops, Walter Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Joe Williams and Esther Phillips just to name a few. While putting in work at Record labels, Muse and Cobblestone, He was able to garner a Five-star ranking on Downbeat magazine. Pierce is also listed in seven jazz history books including Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of jazz and Listen for Jazz by Anna Bishop.
Bobby is quite proud of his major work with the late Della Reese , where he co-wrote the musical, “The Message is In the Music.”
While the consummate classically trained , Jazz and gospel singer, arranger and composer, Bobby still finds time to go out on a few road gigs, and hitting a few local jazz gigs too. He spends most of his time working with choir groups and just being of community service whenever possible.
Derf Reklaw – Flute,Percussion, has a very positive reputation around the music industry and especially the Leimert Park Village. Derf has worked with this play’s author three times previously over last 4 years. “Derf is the type of musician you don’t have to say much, just let him do what he do” stated Robert J. Carmack Director/Producer. Now we know why Eddie Harris & Ramsey Lewis loved his playing on their group’s recordings and live.
Reklaw moved to LA from Chicago in 1979. He is an artist in residence at several educational institutions including UCLA, Santa Monica College, L.A. Conservatory and View Park Academy. His career has enabled him to play with artists like Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Harris, Minnie Ripperton, Ahmad Jamal, Sting and Lionel Hampton. Also featured guest spots with drummer Billy Higgins, poet Kamau Daaood and original member of the Pharoahs, Lui Lui Satterfield.
Black Cultural Events is your gateway to the rich cultural life of Black Southern California. There’s a lot going on in this wonderful metropolis of ours. We know the experience of trying to keep up with it all, or of hearing too late about some event you really would have liked to experience. So we’re getting it all for you – right here in one place. We also have listings of restaurants, cultural institutions, art centers and landmarks. We are updating frequently with new opportunities to experience and explore, so please – visit us often and share with friends. ~
The Black Cultural Events Team Leaders
Pamela Ashe-Thomas is co-founder of Black Cultural Events and BCE Media. A psychologist in private practice and at California State University, Long Beach, Pamela is a life long Black culture lover with a commitment to exposing students and community members to the cultural arts.
David Ashe is co-founder of Black Cultural Events and BCE Media. Prior to Black Cultural Events David was embedded via the 10 Up Agency at Microsoft working with the worldwide corporate storytelling division. He has managed web and digital projects for DirecTV, Toyota, Oprah Winfrey Network, FX Networks, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.
Eric Thomas is a General Partner and Chief Operating Officer for BCE Media. As an itinerant theatre arts instructor for the Arts Education Brand of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the veteran music, broadcast and interactive media production executive brings a wealth of experience to the mission of Black Cultural Events.com.
Keystone Korner’s 45th Anniversary Celebration July 7 & 8 2017
One of the best Jazz weekends in the San Francisco Bay area in decades. First, after you get over the initial shock of the lineup and why, then it all makes sense.
I was in touch with Todd Barkan as soon as I heard through the grapevine there was truly some type of celebration being planned months ahead of the date. This of course forced me to research and find out just who actually played the North Beach venue .
Many of the great ones that played Keystone Korner are no longer with us.. But Todd selected an absolute stellar group of musicians, all legends and all-stars in their own right. Tenor Saxophonists, Mel Martin and Azar Lawrence, Alto Sax, Gary Bartz and Charles McPherson , Bassists, Juini Booth and Ray Drummond, Drummers Akira Tana and Roy McCurdy, Percussion Kenneth Nash, Guitarist Calvin Keys, Pianist Denny Zeitlin and Theo Saunders, plus a great group from Japan, Atsuko Hashimoto B3 jazz trio.
Equally important as the musicians themselves , Todd chose great venues for the presentation . starting on July 7 at Kuumbwa’s Jazz in Santa Cruz, a coastal city ripe for a top-shelf jazz set.
The very next day, Saturday July 8th, it couldn’t get any better for a gorgeous afternoon of riveting jazz. He chose the gem of the bay area, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. A unique club carved out of a beautiful home on the cliff side staring into Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco on the peninsula. Follow that Car!! great management, great drinks and service.
You know it not always clear where your next great story is going to come from or, who you might see along the way to that story. but one thing for sure , If you know anything about Todd Barkan..You just grab a brew or some wine, sit down and listen. Todd Barkan the successful Jazz presenter, piano player, record producer, jazz archivist, and husband.
As I looked around the sanctuary and hung-out down in the green room, I observed the interaction between Todd Barkan and the many friends and fans of the “Korner”,but mostly the musicians, the “fellas”, there was a special kinship or bond between both presenter and musicians. It’s not even close to being that way “now days”. In my chats with several of the band members and supporters leading up to this great weekend, well almost to a man, they all said pretty much the same. “Todd is one of us.. we are family. “Sadly, a lot of the old gang who frequently played the club during its hey-day are no longer with us. Their spirit lives on in Todd and the musicians memories.
Part of the weekend which also made it a special “NICE TOUCH” was having some of the photographers who were, and still a big part of archiving this genre and historic occasions in the Bay area. Three of the best were among the guests at the happenings , Ms. Kathy Sloane, who published a book about the days and nights at Keystone Korner. Fellow shutterbugs, Jim Bourne and Brian McMillen weaved in and out of the scene and captured many great shots to document (see a smattering of their work below)
Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society(founded loosely in late 1950s by Pete Douglas). But officially as a Jazz and classical music venue in 1964. The crown jewel of Bay area venues was the true “scene of the crime.”
Just prior to his opening remarks, Todd seemed like he was reflecting over his well documented record of work over the last 45 years plus!
1972 -1983, Over a decade in great music was presented on a 7 day a week basis at Keystone Korner in North Beach. And, all of San Francisco, even the “East Bay peeps” came across the bridge on any given night to see the sights, enjoy the fruits of labor from the giants. Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner,Mary Lou Williams, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Zoot Sims and Charles Mingus,Bobby Hutcherson,Cedar Walton ,Art Blakey, Michael White featuring Kenneth Nash and, Ed Kelly on piano and Ray Drummond bass.
Todd opened the club in 1972, and that was the starting point for greatness that never ceased until the last act in Charles McPherson’s group playing the last set 1983.
Part of the “pomp and circumstance” were watching all that talent being switched around and configured to fit mood, moment and personnel, which was masterfully orchestrated by the “Todd-Father”(Barkan) . a pleasant surprise insertion was Theo Saunders for Benito Gonzalez ..the native new Yorker demonstrated why he’s a first-call pianist in Southern California, even international, as Saunders bio reads like a who’s who in jazz for over three decades.
A Bright Moment for me was a beautiful duet ballad by old friends, Denny Zeitlin and saxophonist Gary Bartz. Before beginning the song, Denny told the story of meeting Bartz in a jam session while at a Baltimore, Maryland club sitting-in on piano. (club owner was Gary’s Dad) the two clicked immediately musically, but Zeitlin had a small dilemma, He was studying medicine at John Hopkins with a burning desire to become a physician. But Zeitlin worked it all out. The two musicians are still friends today, Denny is also jazz pianist and also a respected Doctor of Psychiatry in the S.F. Bay area.
Another stand out and surprise performances were a jazz trio from Japan, playing in a traditional B3 style group with Organ , Saxophone and Guitar. this stellar group was led by this very animated and dynamic B3 organ player, Astuko Hashimoto, Guitarist Yutaka Hashimoto, saxophone Hedeki Karamura.
Our friends from Japan were extremely busy on a blistery up-tempo blues in F, which stirred up things. It sort of reminded us of days of Jimmy Smith and Shirley Scott. Astuko brought the Fire!
As soon as all the smoke cleared from the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society’s sanctuary, especially as the ZAR-Meister(Azar Lawrence reunited with bassist Juini Booth(original live album at Keystone Korner, Atlantis by McCoy Tyner) added drummer Roy McCurdy and pianist Theo Saunders took us on a journey to Africa to Atlantis and back to Half Moon Bay. Word was, they had a gathering crowd about to converge on the restaurant Pier 23 on Embarcadero for part two of the Saturday’s festivities. A quaint and cozy Jazz spot off the Pier. Great enthusiasm with a full house awaiting to start the show 8pm hit at Pier 23. This crowd was grassroots and tuned in all the pyrotechnics that were to come later as the personnel expanded to included such jazz luminaries as saxophonist John Handy, trumpeter David Hardiman and SF Bay area’s Jazz man/Pilot, Roger Glenn on flute. along with Mel Martins band mates, plus Larry Dunlap, Jeff Marr. to name a few.
Big shout out to all the management and owners of the various Jazz venues. your staff and personnel were professional and very warm.. Thanks to Mr. Todd Barkan, for all the Bright Moments, historic sessions,and recordings . You ARE truly a Jazz Master.(2018) Congratulations!!
Special Thanks to Mel Martin and his lovely wife for helping me out in a glaring situation. Catch my interview and chat with S.F. Bay legendary musician Mel Martin.
Los Angeles _It was announced recently by Carla Du Pree Clark Director of the hit Musical,”North On South Central”, Ms. Eloise Laws has joined the talented cast. The Houston born singer/songwriter is well-known for her gifted voice being heard on radio stations and concert halls around the world. But, in recent years,she’s also put her vocal skills to work on the Theater stage as well. while most will remember her chart toppers,You’re Incredible,Love Comes Easy, and Baby You Lied..she also excelled in her theatrical endeavors with a Tony Award Nomination for a musical she co-wrote and starred in “It’s Nothing But the Blues.”
Ms. Laws comes from a very talented family of singers and musicians, including iconic brothers, Hubert and Ronnie…with younger sister Debra, fully established in her own career.
Eloise is asking all of her fans in Los Angeles to come out and support this award-winning Musical, “North on South Central”.. It’s a Keeper!
The Hipster Sanctuary E-Zine/Blog is focused primarily on UNSUNG artists of Jazz, Blues and Soul Genres. We’ll profile, explore, interview and publicize information to, commemorate, or uplift the legacy of these artists who gave it their all during their time in the public’s eye. “By Any Medium Necessary” From time to time, we may have special events recognizing these artists as groups, or individually honoring them. We will also include individuals who contributed to the innovations and quality of the music through Press,Radio and Film. Artists emerging or still performing on a high level will be acknowledged as well. We welcome ideas, suggestions,photos, and guest writers to participate as well. Contact Us: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert J. Carmack , Editor/Photographer/Actor /Musician/Producer/Playwright/Promoter
Oh Yeah… Just One More Thing ! Robert grew up in Los Angeles (Watts & Compton) and has spent five decades in entertainment as musician, actor,producer,writer and photojournalist across many genres including Jazz, Soul/R&B and Blues. Co-founded,The Paul Robeson Players, The Atlanta International Jazz Society, The SFBAAAM (San Francisco Bay-Area African-American Musicians)worked as 1publicist ,promoter and producer for live concerts and awards shows.
An expert in Jazz & blues history, Robert studied Music, Communications and Theater Arts in college. He holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree from California State University Dominguez Hills and a Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia University. A passionate patron for youth in the Fine Arts & Education.