Barbara Dane: 90th Birthday Celebration
«One of the true unsung heroes of American music » — Boston Globe
Swinging the blues and jazz with wit and wisdom, the legendary singer, social activist, and Bay Area gem Barbara Dane makes her SFJAZZ Center debut, performing songs from her new album and treasures from her lifetime of music. Having begun a career as a blues and folk singer when she moved to San Francisco at the end of the 1940s, Dane embraced the city’s exploding jazz scene from the start, getting her first gig in the Bay Area with luminary Turk Murphy. A sparking career followed, finding her sharing the stage with blues and jazz icons like Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Earl Hines, Jack Teagarden, Otis Spann and dozens more. In a late 50s review for Playboy magazine, eminent critic Leonard Feather dubbed her “Bessie Smith in stereo,” and Louis Armstrong was quoted in Time magazine saying: “Did you get that chick? She's a gasser!”
From the time of her classic blues debut album, 1957’s Trouble in Mind, Dane has been an outspoken champion for social justice and is cited as an inspiration by artists including Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. In the intense political climate of the 1960s, Dane shifted her focus from the jazz scene to the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War and in 1966, she was the first American musician to tour Cuba following their revolution. Now in her 90th year, Dane maintains «a jazz musician’s sense of rhythm, a blues singer’s deep investment in the material, and a folk stylist’s attention to authenticity” (The Boston Globe).
Her new album, Throw It Away, features renowned Bay Area jazz pianist Tammy Hall, who joins her for this performance. The evening’s special guests include Pablo Menendez, direct from Havana and psychedelic soul legends the Chambers Brothers, who will accompany Dane on freedom songs recorded together on the seminal 1966 Folkways lp, Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers which will be re-issued on vinyl in time for the celebration.