Kuumbwa Jazz Presents
Barbara Dane with Tammy Hall CD Release: “Throw It Away…” with special guest from Cuba, Pablo “Mezcla” Menendez
Thu · April 27, 2017
Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pmKuumbwa Jazz Center
$25.00 - $30.00
Singer Barbara Dane’s distinguished career includes performing with an eclectic list of American icons in jazz, blues and folk music—from Louis Armstrong and Lightning Hopkins to Memphis Slim and Bob Dylan. Jazz critic Leonard Feather once described her as “Bessie Smith in stereo.” Pete Seeger joined her in Detroit for her first concert in 1946 and her extraordinary life has since found her singing wherever people are fighting for peace and justice. Her new recording, Throw It Away, a collaboration with top Bay Area pianist Tammy Hall, features bassist Ruth Davies who will both be performing in concert with Dane. The show will be dedicated to Barbara’s long-time drummer Bill Maginnis.https://kuumbwajazz.ticketfly.com/event/1444218/
Rounding out the rhythm section are in-demand bassist Ruth Davies, known for her years of work with Elvin Bishop and the late Charles Brown, and Daria “Shani” Johnson on drums. And special guest, Barbara Dane’s son, Pablo Menéndez leader of the Cuban band Mezcla, will hit town all the way from Havana with no more baggage than his funky blues harmonica.
In the 1950s and ’60s Barbara Dane performed and recorded with many of the greats of jazz and blues including Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Chambers Brothers, Memphis Slim, and Willie Dixon. Her first album, Trouble in Mind, appeared in 1957 on the San Francisco Records label. She recorded Livin’ with the Blues for Dot in 1959 with a combo that featured Earl Hines with Shelly Manne, Plas Johnson, and Benny Carter. Dane appeared on national TV’s Timex Jazz Show with Louis Armstrong and was featured on Playboy After Dark, receiving a special award from Hugh Hefner as one of the outstanding jazz artists of the year. She scored a Top 40 hit in 1960 with a single on the Trey label titled “I’m on My Way” that was produced by Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill and has become a cult classic in recent years on England’s Northern Soul scene. Her album On My Way (Capitol Records, 1961) featured a different version of the song, which can be heard throughout the 2010 PBS special Freedom Riders.
Many young singers such as Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, and Ry Cooder were exposed to her music at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles, where Dane was a frequent headliner. “Barbara Dane, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Memphis Minnie were incredible role models for all of us,” explained Bonnie Raitt in a recent interview. “They were great women blues players, singers and songwriters that ran their own careers and played [...] guitar.” Barbara Dane had "always been a role model and a hero of mine, musically and politically. There really isn't anyone that accomplished as much as she did, in terms of breaking barriers and standing up for what she believed in," says Raitt.
Never confining herself to one genre, Dane also performed and recorded folk and world music, taking a cue from early mentor Pete Seeger. In the 1960s and ’70s, she sang at demonstrations in Washington and in small towns all over America, from the Freedom Schools of rural Mississippi to the gates of military bases in Japan and Europe. In l966, Barbara became the first American performing artist to tour post-revolutionary Cuba, defying the U.S. travel ban. Outspoken and indomitable, she never allowed mainstream blacklisting to slow her down and her voice continues to sing out for social justice, civil rights and against war.
Born in Detroit in 1927, Ms. Dane celebrates her 90th birthday this year, inspiring the launch of the Barbara Dane Legacy Project with an advisory board that includes such luminaries as Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz; Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar; singers Bonnie Raitt, Silvio Rodríguez, and Judy Collins; actress and activist Jane Fonda, and many others. The Barbara Dane papers, an archival collection reflecting her decades of involvement in music and activism, have been organized, and a documentary film about Ms. Dane’s extraordinary life, directed by Maureen Gosling, is in the early stages of production. In December of 2016 she headlined a concert in her honor at the Casa de las Americas, one of Havana’s most important cultural institutions and received a special award from the Cuban Writers and Artists Guild (UNEAC). Concerts marking the milestone are planned for SFJAZZ’s Miner Theater on July 13 and UCLA’s Royce Hall on October 21.
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320-2 Cedar Street
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060