Nicolas Bearde performs special December Holiday Show at Piedmont Piano Company

Nicolas Bearde & Friends
Celebrating the Season

Now celebrating his 11th anniversary, this special concert is a “must see” show for all fans of contemporary Jazz and Blues. With holiday classics and carols getting the signature Nicolas Bearde high-energy makeover, it’s a show you won’t want to miss. Joining him on stage are some of the Bay Area’s best: John R Burr (piano), Ron Belcher (bass), and Lorca Hart (drums).

Give the gift of music this Holiday season to family and friends. Make your reservations early. This “one night only concert” always sells out.

Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 8pm
at Piedmont Piano Company
1728 San Pablo Ave. (at 18th), Oakland, CA

$25 in advance / $30 at the door. Meet & Greet and reception to follow.
To reserve tickets with your credit card, please call (510) 547-8188.


Recording artist, Nicolas Bearde, a seasoned and highly respected showman, has established himself as a powerful presence in the contemporary jazz vocal milieu over this past decade. His silky baritone sound invites comparisons to Johnny Hartman, Lou Rawls, and Joe Williams, and his wit and engaging rapport captures and draws the audience into his live performances. Nicolas has 5 CD’s out on his own label, Right Groove Records, and his most recent album release, Invitation in January 2016, rose quickly to the Top 20 on the Jazz Week Charts, garnering rave reviews at home and abroad. nicolasbearde.com

John R Burr (keys)- John R. Burr is that rare pianist who combines jazz technique with a genuine love for folk music. The Philadelphia Weekly said, “Pianist extraordinaire John R. Burr has the most sparkling style since former Allman Brother-turned-Rolling Stone hired hand Chuck Leavell.” Discology wrote, “John R. Burr ranks with the best of the elegant jazzers.”

Ron Belcher (bass)– Bassist Ron Belcher travels the world from France to Japan and throughout the US bringing his rhythmically buoyant, emotionally uplifting style to the stage for a wide diversity of jazz artists. Performing or recording with such international stars such as Branford Marsalis, Regina Carter, Rodney Franklin, as well as a literal “who’s who” of the San Francisco jazz scene, Ron has garnered a reputation as one of northern California’s first-call jazz bassists.

Lorca Hart (drummer) – Drummer Lorca Hart grew up in Taos, New Mexico in a musical family. He was exposed to a variety of instruments and musical styles as a child but early on it became clear that the drumset was his passion. He has performed with many of the West Coast’s (and beyond) finest artists including : Carmen Lundy, Freddie Hubbard, Calvin Keys, Stanley Jordan, and others and can be heard on recordings by Hugh Masekela, John Heard, Justo Almario, Ronald Muldrow, Dave Pike, Phil Ranelin, and the Cross Hart Jazz Experience.

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David Mort’s latest book Voodoo Child now available on Kindle

David Mort’s latest book “Voodoo Child” is available now from the Kindle Book Store. You may be interested in it as it covers the evolution of the blues and rock.

One of rock music’s more iconic images is that of Jimi Hendrix onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival in ’67, kneeling over the remains of his burning guitar after his performance of “Wild Thing.” He was beckoning the flames to rise as if summoning up demons and dragons from hell, which is what several fans described as witnessing after ingesting “Monterey Purple,” a strain of LSD concocted especially for the event.

Thirty years earlier, a bluesman by the name of Robert Johnson supposedly made a pact with the Devil at the crossroads in return for becoming an Ace” on the guitar. So perhaps Jimi had made a similar pact as both their souls were claimed at the age of 27. And before Robert there was another “Ace” named Charlie Patton who, like Jimi, could play the guitar behind his back, above his head and with his teeth. And before Jimi there was T Bone Walker who performed in a similar fashion. And as these three musicians were African Americans with Cherokee ancestors, perhaps they’d inherited an added spiritual dimension.

By the time Robert Johnson made his supposed pact however, the myth was already as old as the hills. The fact is that most blues musicians were itinerants who’d chosen a life on the road over a mundane, family or domestic existence, leading loved ones to conclude they were dancing to the devil’s tune.

For the purposes of my story, which traces the evolution of blues, r n b, soul and rock n roll from the Mississippi flood of ’27 to the deaths of Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, all such talented musicians, those deemed “Aces” “Kings” or “Queens,” had made similar pacts with the devil. Artists such as Buddy Holly, Bessie Smith, Eddie Cochran, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, who when their respective souls passed over, often after meeting a violent death at an early age, could be claimed to play for the “ARKestra Paradiso.”

This “ARKestra,” so called because it boasts two players per instrument, performs in a room whose walls are made of a membrane fashioned from tightly stretched goat skin or vellum. Therefore, it can pick up on sound waves travelling through air and water. This room is situated in an old slave ship named “the Paradiso” which floats on a giant underground lake, so can detect vibrations through its wood, taut ropes or sheets, and surroundings. This lake is in a giant cavern known as the Orpheus chamber, situated deep inside a mountain, home to stalactites, stalagmites and crystalline, flower like structures named anthodites, which also pick up on vibrations passing through rock. Consequently, these musicians are performing in a closed environment that resonates like a gigantic bell, thereby creating a wall of sound.

The “ARKestra” is composed of pairs of those musicians deemed “Aces,” “Kings” or “Queens,” plucked from the flood of misery that segregation created to help change the New World for the better. They mentor and sympathetically resonate with musicians still alive, and working through their performances and recordings, seek to create a new vibe called the “big beat,” woven from different strands of music.

The old slave ship, “Paradiso,” is also home to the largest record repository in the world. Known as the “ARKhive,” it comprises two copies of all the recordings ever made in the New World, arranged year by year in the aisles of the original slave hold.

David Mort

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