Donna Kimura

Donna Kimura

Jacqui Naylor journeyed to all points on her rich musical landscape during a recent show at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Calif.

Back in her native Bay Area after extensive touring, Naylor was loose and confident, kicking off the show with the Talking Heads’ "Once in a Lifetime." Her smoky vocals made the song soar as her band smoothly melded the music of Weather Report’s "Birdland" behind her.

The song is an example of Naylor's "acoustic smashing," her process of blending a rock song with a jazz tu


Wilson Heats Up S.F.

Published in Concert Reviews
Cassandra Wilson stood on stage and confessed that she wanted to sing in one place for a year.

The audience answered by making the case for San Francisco to be just the spot to realize that wish.

The acclaimed singer had the crowd from her opening tune, "Caravan." Known for her adventurous repertoire, Wilson performed a stellar, although short, set that stretched from jazz standards to an old blues number. The show was part of Wilson’s six-night run at the splashy new Yoshi’s in San Franci

Only in Nellie McKay's world does Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" become a song about illegal immigration.

"Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above," she sang, gently strumming a ukulele. "Don't fence me in."

That's McKay in a nutshell. She's an uncommon blend of bite and sentiment. She's both wise and a wiseass.

The young pop-jazz singer performed at San Francisco’s The Independent on the heels of the release of her fine third CD, Obligatory Villager

On a damp Chicago night that had the first feel of fall, Patricia Barber showed that she is one of jazz music’s top artists.

The singer-pianist performed a solid, sometimes daring, two-set show that featured instrumental and vocal numbers, originals and covers.

Barber performed with her stunning quartet, which includes longtime bassist Michael Arnopol, guitarist Neal Alger and drummer Eric Montzka. Each musician is given room to stretch and take off on flights of improvisation before bring

Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay revealed to a San Francisco audience that she has received her share of hate mail.

But don’t be alarmed, she said, continuing the story after performing several songs. Most of the messages came from people she knows.

That’s McKay fearless and funny. It’s a combination that graces her thoroughly original music.

McKay is a piano playing, cursing, rapping, jazz singing, cultural reference dropping, politically outspoken chanteuse who has released one of the y


Schuur Still Shines

Published in Concert Reviews
One of the finest singers around, Diane Schuur continues to shine.

The two-time Grammy winner was in strong form during a recent 90-minute show at Yoshi’s in Oakland.

The evening featured a good blend of material from Schuur’s upcoming Concord Records CD, "Midnight," as well as some songs from her past.

Produced by Barry Manilow, the new album is scheduled to be released Aug. 12. Schuur appeared on his 1987 jazz-oriented record "Swing Street."

One of the night’s highlights was "What

Judging by a rare club appearance, Diana Krall’s next album will be her most adventurous to date.

A surprise mix of blues and pop songs by contemporary songwriters made up the bulk of a recent show at Yoshi’s, a favorite Bay Area jazz spot.

Krall hasn’t played such a small club in years, but the intimate setting was the perfect place to test run the new material. She was heading into the recording studio just two days later.

Krall covered songs by Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Mose Allison a

You never know what Cassandra Wilson might sing.

From album to album, she has shown bold originality, weaving a rich tapestry of music from jazz to folk, pop to blues. A recent sold-out concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco proved that Wilson is still unconfined by musical boundaries.

Barefoot and wearing a white dress, Wilson opened with Bob Dylan’s "Lay Lady Lay," wrapping her deep, rich voice around the line "Lay across my big brass bed."

Her last CD, "Belly of th

It can be argued that Linda Ronstadt’s best work was the music she made beginning in 1983 with arranger Nelson Riddle.

The 1970s’ rock princess wrapped her big, soaring voice around a collection of impeccably chosen standards, showcasing her talents in ways that "When Will I Be Loved" and "Tumbling Dice," as good as they were, never could.

Ronstadt, 56, recently revisited the work she did with Riddle during a concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Opening with "What’s New," s

At a time of frayed nerves and weary hearts, Rosemary Clooney took a San Francisco audience under her care and provided solace. She made her entrance walking across a darkened stage on the arm of her husband. Seeing the shadowy figures, the audience surrounded them with applause. When the lights came on, Clooney was sitting in a chair at center stage, flashing her famous smile and easing into a fitting opening. "Gonna take a sentimental journey," she sang in a voice as warm and soothing as a ton
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