Dane’s Still Marching and Swinging

The great jazz singer will be at Yoshi’s on Aug. 24.


Barbara Dane.

Stephen Loewinsohn

It might seem a little late in the game for Barbara Dane to be forging new musical alliances, but the 88-year-old singer has never put much stock in conventional notions.

In a career stretching back to the early 1950s, she has effortlessly moved from her folk music roots to singing jazz and blues with commanding authority (while never abandoning her resolute leftist politics). She celebrates the release of her first new album in a decade, Throw It Away, at Yoshi’s on Aug. 24, a collaboration with the invaluable pianist Tammy Hall. The accompanist of choice for many of the best jazz singers in the region (such as Kim Nalley and Denise Perrier), Hall wrote the arrangements for Dane’s magpie collection of songs.

Whether she’s interpreting Paul Simon’s “American Song,” Memphis Minnie’s “I’m Sellin’ My Porkchops,” Leonard Cohen’s “Slow,” or Andy Razaf and Fats Waller’s “How Can You Face Me?,” Dane still sounds marvelous, her phrasing sure, and her sense of humor tart (she’s particularly moving on the title track, a modern day standard by the great jazz singer and songwriter Abbey Lincoln). Dane is credited on about half of the album’s 13 songs.

A Detroit native who has long called Oakland home, Dane is joined at Yoshi’s by the album’s stellar cast, including Hall, drummer Bill Maginnis, and veteran blues bassist Ruth Davies (who is on break from her regular gig touring with Elvin Bishop). Special guests include reed player and jazz historian Richard Hadlock, a Dane confederate since their days on the thriving 1950s San Francisco trad jazz scene, and her son Pablo Menéndez, straight from Havana and his gig leading the seminal Cuban band Mezcla.

Barbara Dane, Aug. 24, 8 p.m., $25-$55, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, 510-238-9200, Yoshis.com.

This report appears in the August edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.

2016-08-18 08:00 AM

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