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The sfSound Group's creative-music exploration; vocalist Junior Reid's venerable reggae sounds

Wednesday, Jul 27 2005
Though this show is billed as "The 3rd Annual Rare Groove Revival," the phrase "rare groove" might be a bit misleading to the uninitiated. Indeed, it's record collector-speak that refers to quality soul, jazz, and funk from the '60s and '70s, but the three East Bay bands representing at this here revival don't just dabble in the obscure. Expect to hear familiar tunes as well as new ones; the Grease Traps and Brown Baggin' tend toward covers, rare and otherwise, while Sfunk plays originals. All claim to be influenced by Herbie Hancock, and members of Brown Baggin' say that the three bands are "incestuous" and have been known to collaborate in live performances. On second thought, perhaps "rare groove" refers to the unique tunes that will arise out of jammin' on the fly. Find out for yourself when the joint gets jumping on Wednesday, July 27, at the Rickshaw Stop; call 861-2011 or visit for more info. -- Tamara Palmer

When Junior Reid replaced Michael Rose, the popular frontman of reggae band Black Uhuru, in 1983, critics and die-hard fans dismissed him as a cheap imitation. With so much to live up to, it was somewhat of a no-win situation. If he hadn't had to slip into such revered shoes, his own talent might have burned brighter both in Uhuru and in his subsequent solo career, for Reid is blessed with a beautiful, clear timbre and an accent mild enough to be deciphered and appreciated by non-islander ears. Songs of faith and unity in the face of imperialist obstacles are common for him, though his last album, 2000's Big Timer, showed a wry sense of humor absent on previous efforts, particularly on songs like "Drink Out Mi Royalties," addressed to shameless gold diggers with an eye on his pockets. Venerable dancehall toaster Everton Blender and the Itals will also be on hand to conjure the irie vibes and the roots of reggae on Friday, July 29, at the Independent; call 721-1421 or visit for more info. -- Tamara Palmer

The sfSoundGroup and its ambitiously curated concert programs ("sfSoundSeries") are among the Bay Area's most significant breeding grounds for daring creative-music exploration. Led by a quartet of young artistic directors -- David Bithell (trumpet), Christopher Burns (electronics), Matt Ingalls (clarinet), and Christopher Jones (piano/bassoon) -- the 6-year-old collective best sums up its mission on its Web site: "surveying American ideas and traditions of experimental music, performance art, live electronic music, and the various facets of contemporary improvisation." The final live show of its "Verge Residency" at the ODC Theater will feature a 21-member big band of vocalists, string players, wind instrumentalists, and a gang of percussionists, interpreting a world premiere by local guitarist John Shiurba, a handful of directed improvs, and a pair of evocative "serious music" classics, including the legendary John Cage's "Concert for Piano and Orchestra," a pioneering work that uses indeterminacy (or chance) in its compositional structure, and Erik Satie's ballet soundtrack "Entr'acte," set to a surrealist film by René Clair. Experience the gutsy vision and virtuosic playing of sfSoundGroup on Monday, Aug. 1, at ODC; call 863-9834 or go to for more info. -- Sam Prestianni


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