OJazz JazzLife Symposium & Concert

I recently attended the OJazz JazzLife Symposium featuring Bay Area drummer legends Randy Moore and Earl Watkins at African American Museum & Library at Oakland. It was a very informative event. Moore and Watkins were a wealth of knowledge on the Bay Area jazz scene dating back to the 1920’s. Watkins, who is 85, could recall names, dates, and locations of clubs verbatim. He was amazing. I learned how the Fillmore District in San Francisco and West Oakland were once both filled with vibrant music clubs drawing the top jazz acts of the day. The JazzLife Symposium was just one of the events in the JazzLife series sponsored by OJazz (Oakland Jazz Foundation.)
After the lecture, there was a reception and we were treated to the soulful jazz sounds of The Mellow Tones featuring:
Melvin Butts – alto sax
Mark Wright – trumpet
Vince Khoe – keyboard
Alexander Smith – bass
Glen Iwaoka – drums
Geri Harris – vocals
Their set included “Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)”, “Sunrise on Oakland”, “The Song is You”, “Summertime”, “Bop Town” and a mellow Jimmy Smith tune. Later in their set, the Tones were joined by vocalist Geri Harris. Her rich tones and delivery were warm, lush, and wonderful yet, when she needed to belt out a tune, she could do so effortlessly. There was definitely a great time had by all who attended this event of rich music history, past and present.

Leave a Reply