Barbara Dane

 

With sold-out shows in January and August at Yoshi’s Jazz club in Oakland, legendary jazz, folk, and blues singer Barbara Dane celebrates her new CD, “Throw It Away…”, her first recording in over 10 years. The 89-year-old veteran brings soul, humor, warmth, wisdom to every performance and sings with a voice described in a recent Oakland Magazine profile as "still rich and powerful and full of purpose.”


Her magical collaboration with acclaimed Bay Area pianist Tammy Hall is thrilling to experience. "One of the almost ineffable joys of jazz and blues music,” explains Barbara, "is when your sense of swing matches some other musicians' sense of it and your hearts beat as one, without ever having discussed or planned it… That great sense of release and freedom we get when we’re all cookin’ at once is as close as I come to prayer.”


In the 1950s and 1960s Barbara Dane performed and recorded with many of the greats of jazz & blues including Earl Hines, Jack Teagarden, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Chambers Brothers, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon. She 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. Time Magazine described her voice as “pure, rich, and rare as a 20 carat diamond” and Los Angeles Times music critic Leonard Feather dubbed her “Bessie Smith in stereo.” Never confining herself to one genre, she also performed and recorded folk and world music, taking a cue from early mentor Pete Seeger. 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.                                       

“Throw It away...”

Throw It Away…, Barbara Dane’s first new recorded work in 14 years, was released on August 19, 2016 by Dreadnaught Music.


Dane points to her chemistry with the elegantly swinging pianist Tammy Hall as having “given me the freedom to explore new ways of singing.” Dallas native and longtime San Franciscan, Hall is the latest of great piano players to have recorded with Dane, including Earl “Fatha” Hines and Don Ewell. Hall’s approach to the piano reflects her deep classical chops but remains steeped in tradition, always honest and always jazz. “She pays attention to what the singer is saying, and this is rare. Tammy knows how to clarify my meaning through the music,” Dane says of Hall. “Her soloing bares her own feelings while she takes you further and deeper into yours. And oh my, does she swing!”


Rounding out the rhythm section are two great players. On bass, Ruth Davies, known for her years of work with Elvin Bishop and the late Charles Brown. On drums, the vocalist’s old friend and colleague, the Bill Maginnis, who sadly passed away in the fall of 2016 only weeks after performing with the group to a sold out house at Yoshi’s in Oakland, in a concert celebrating the CD’s release. Barbara’s son Pablo Menéndez, leader of the Cuban group Mezcla, produced the date on a visit from his home in Havana. And although his main instrument is guitar, here he blows some terrific blues harp on three tracks. The other special guest on the project is trad jazz veteran Richard Hadlock, who contributes soulful soprano sax on the ballad “All Too Soon.”


 

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