Coming up – July 2 to July 8

Sunday, July 8 – 2:30 pm

Look What the Cat Dragged in Again

A CD release party for
Whitman McGowan’s latest

Look What the Cat Dragged in Again - Whitman McGowanWhitman McGowan started his spoken word career reading poems at a back alley coffeehouse, The Espresso Bar in Pasadena, California, where he put poems for a dollar each on the menu. After moving north to San Francisco (where his UC Santa Barbara teacher Kenneth Rexroth previously held a famous salon) he became best known for crafting a pagan anthem, “White Folks Was Wild Once, Too.”

The difficulty in obtaining copies of this, his newest and fourth album, from Viridiana Records, renders it instantly collectible. The spoken word is accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Don Kirby (known for accompanying Ravi Shankar on tanpura), plus Canadian musicians Johnny and Johnny and Margery Snyder on flute. It also incorporates the surprising recording debut of his alter ego Trungpa Bumbleché, who as a would be icon of unpopular culture and purveyor of nebulous philosophy normally seeks anonymity in order to preserve his mystique. Lemon De George, sound engineer on music documentary Genghis Blues, shepherded this little flock of board tapes and studio recordings made in Canada, Switzerland and up and down California. Artful cd packaging by international brand guru Stanley Moss has this humble collection all done up like a dog’s dinner.

“Whitman McGowan could be the youngest beatnik and the oldest slacker, having squared the hypotenuse of his eternal hippie and survived a scary hip hop moment and a punk phase. His alternative spoken word embraces 1950‘sish Lieber and Stoller style “playlets,” dub poetry, French surrealism, post-Beat rant, New Age medicine show, any kind of serious fun you can have with words. This is something special: out of this world and down to earth speeches presenting new archetypes expressing crucial myths and conflicts of a post-modern age.  At least he thinks he’s alright and so does Margery, thank Goddess.”  — http://www.luminarieswithoutboundaries.wordpress.com/

 Sunday, July 8 – 4:30-6:30 pm

Natalie Cressman’s Pentagram

which way west? Sunday concert series — All ages welcome! Your donations help us pay the band.

Natalie Cressman's Pentagram at Bird & Beckett Books, July 2012An afternoon of entrancingly rhythmic music that stretches across stylistic boundaries.  No doubt about it.

Natalie will be zipping over here from the Fillmore Street Jazz Fest, where she’ll have played three sets in two days– two with Jai Uttal and the Queen of Hearts Orchestra and one with Sandy Cressman’s Homenagem Brasileira… She’s gearing up for her CD release blowout at Freight and Salvage in August with her band called “Secret Garden” showcasing their cd called “Unfolding”… you’ve been hearing some of those tracks on KCSM of late, and they’re more than a little mind-blowing!

Here at Bird & Beckett, she’ll bring some current associates like trumpeter Ivan Rosenberg and some long-time confreres like pianist Samora Pinderhughes to help her let her hair down at the tail end of a crazy weekend and show you what makes her one of the most in-demand 20-year old trombone players/singers/composers in the world at this moment in time!  Jeff & Sandy (her folks, top musicians both) must be crazy proud, and more than a tad jealous!

Pentagram features Natalie Cressman, trombone, vocals, compositions; Ivan Rosenberg, trumpet; Samora Pinderhughes, piano; Jonathan Stein, bass; and Michael Mitchell, drums.

Sez Natalie:  “The 20-year-old trombonist of the Trey Anastasio Band (Phish) will be performing in the SF Bay Area for the first time in 2012 at Bird and Beckett Books this July” [well, if you ignore her Stanford Jazz Camp stuff and those three Fillmore Street JF gigs over the preceding 36 hours.] “The project’s vision is to expose the elasticity of genres, to  push away musical boundaries and allow styles to blend into one another, and in the process create something refreshing and universal. Drawing on her upbringing saturated with Brazilian and Cuban rhythms, Cressman organically combines elements of jazz, folk, Indian music, and these African-based rhythms to form a refreshing hybrid unique to her own musical life experience.”

Indie Music Reviewer Magazine, god love ’em, gave 5 stars to “Unfolding,” Natalie’s brand new debut album recorded with her band called Secret Garden.  To quote, “What’s fantastic about ‘Unfolding’ is that though it’s a jazz record, the songs are so beautiful and easily comprehendible that for a moment you don’t even realize that it’s jazz you’re listening to. Even those who don’t have an ear for this genre will find the music enjoyable. When listening you feel what Cressman is playing, and when there are no lyrics, the music speaks just as clearly… Musicians as talented as Cressman are a breath of fresh air….a hidden gem!’

Here at Bird & Beckett, we don’t mind at all if it sounds like jazz, but we don’t mind where she and her crew take the music either.  It’s a big, bad world, and we dig it the most!

For more information about Natalie Cressman, visit http://www.nataliecressman.com.

And don’t forget to make your way to Freight & Salvage in early August, when Natalie’s band called Secret Garden will celebrate the release of their debut cd, “Unfolding.”  Josh Jones and Peter Apfelbaum performing a deux will modestly hold down the other half of the bill.

Can’t wait?  Catch her here at B&B this Sunday and again at the more-than-wonderful Caffe d’Melanio down on Ocean Av near City College on July 13th…

Friday, July 13 – 5:30 to 8:00 pm

The Jimmy Ryan Quintet

Drummer Jimmy Ryan at Bird & Beckett Books, San FranciscoThis Friday, drummer Jimmy Ryan, a vital force on the Bird & Beckett scene for a decade, and bassist Bishu Chatterjee are joined by Aaron Johnson (alto sax), Joe Cohen (tenor sax) and Michael Parsons (piano).  Jimmy’s career in the music started in the late 1950s/early 1960s in Los Angeles, and he made the move north in ’61, playing regularly for a decade at venues like Jimbo Edwards’ Bop City with like-minded eager young cats that included Bishop Norman Williams and Don Alberts.  A long hiatus from the music which started in 1971 ended in the ’90s, when he filled in at the Gathering Caffe on Grant Street in North Beach alongside old associate Bishop, BJ Papa and his own son — a terrific trumpet player — Joel Ryan.  Through the past five decades, he’s put in serious playing time with top rank musicians like Putter Smith, Vince Wallace and Kent Glenn.  Now, when he puts out a call for players to augment the line-up at his Bird & Beckett gigs, the best young players in town are always willing to step up.  Joe Cohen and Michael Parsons — two cases in point.  As for Aaron, he’s just passing through from NYC and plays a blistering alto sax.  Come hear for yourself what Jimmy’s band is capable of.