Olu Dara: Blue Note

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Special To The Black Star

Don't miss OLU DARA, produced by Jill  Newman Productions, when he brings his soulful mix of blues, folk, jazz, funk, African popular music and reggae to the Blue Note, 131 West Third Street in the Village, Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, at 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. each night. Featured on trumpet, cornet and vocals, Dara’s band is Kwatei Jones-Quartey (guitar), Alonzo Gardner (bass), Coster Massamba (percussion) and  Larry Johnson (drums). Tickets are $30.00 at tables and $20.00 at the bar.

Although he didn't record under his own name until 1998, Olu Dara enjoyed a reputation as one of the jazz avant-garde's leading trumpeters from the mid-'70s on. Early-'80s records and performances with the David Murray Octet and the  Henry Threadgill Sextet revealed Dara to be a daring, roots-bound soloist, with  a modern imagination and a big burnished tone in the style of Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge. Dara was born Charles Jones III in Louisville, MS, in  1941. He moved to New York in 1963, but did not perform publicly until the early '70s, when he became a part of the city's loft jazz culture. By that time, he had  changed his name to the Yoruba Olu Dara. Besides his work with Murray and  Threadgill, Dara also played with Hamiet Bluiett, James "Blood" Ulmer, and Don  Pullen, among others. Dara was an intermittent presence on the jazz scene in the  '80s and '90s, occasionally leading his Okra Orchestra and Natchezsippi Dance  Band. In 1985, he recorded with Pullen and in 1987, with saxophonist Charles Brackeen; in the '90s he worked with vocalist Cassandra Wilson, playing on her  "Blue Note album, Blue Light 'Til Dawn." Atlantic released "In the World:  From Natchez to New York," Dara’s first solo  album, followed by "Neighborhoods" in 2001. Rapper Nas, Dara's son, guested on a track on "In the World" and Dara performed on Nas' debut album "Illmatic" in 1994 and "Street's  Disciple" in 2004.

Also, on October 22, Richie Havens will be at BB KINGS, at 7:30 PM. Richie Havens is a master of bringing together rich melodies, powerful lyrics, pre-punk acoustic guitar and a touch of jazziness for a liberating aural experience. Combining Bob Dylan's lyrical skills with an earthy vocal prowess, Havens reaches near-orgasmic heights in each energetic composition.

His 1967 outing Mixed Bag best exhibits the duality of Havens' playing: on the one hand, you have sunshine-filled jazzy folk such as "Morning, Morning"; on the other hand you've got electrically charged pieces such as "High Flying Bird." The high point of Havens' long career remains his electrifying performance at Woodstock, where he equaled the mighty roar of Hendrix's screaming Fender Stratocaster with his deep, growling vocals and vigorous, finger shredding acoustic guitar strumming.

For Olu Dara reservations and more information, call (212) 475-8592 or visit bluenotejazz.com. World's Finest Jazz Club & Restaurant, is at 131 West 3rd  Street, NYC 10012
www.bluenotejazz.com CONTACT: JILL NEWMAN PRODUCTIONS 917-561-6056  www.jillnewmanproductions.com For Richie Havens, produced by Jill Newman Productions. 7:30pm, $30


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