Critic Quotes

4/7/10 San Francisco, CA
The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco is once again presenting blues acts and is a welcome addition to the dwindling venues with the capacity to book major acts. It is located in a less than desirable neighborhood in the same block as the infamous porno palace, the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater. The oldest music hall in San Francisco, the GAMH was built in 1907 and the room is beautifully appointed with decorative balconies that afford a good sightline and lofty columns that add to the majestic ambiance. On Sunday, March 7, 2010, the GAMH hosted a two-act show with Eric Bibb and Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage Choir. Bibb and Tillery have a history of collaboration and in 1998 shared a Grammy nomination along with Taj Mahal for Best Musical Album for Children entitled “Shakin’ A Tailfeather.” ... Opening up the second portion of the show, The Cultural Heritage Choir was seated on stage with Linda Tillery leading the proceedings with the vocal ensemble using congas, and various other drums/percussion instruments to drive the tunes and chants. The first tune “Sisters ‘Cross The Ocean” set the tone for an evening that encompassed a broad musical repertoire. The choir was comprised of vocalists Tammi Brown, Rhonda Benin, Elouise Burrell (also on pounding stick drum), Bryan Dyer and Jesus Diaz on percussion and background vocals. I cannot rave enough about the vocalists. Each and every one of them is talented enough to be a star on their own—Burrell’s angelic voice was purely perfect; Brown’s powerfully soulful solos; and, Benin’s edgy sultry styling — all were awesome! Tillery’s vocals engendered raw emotion using repetitive verse and field holler sermons which cut to the bone. They put all together in a jubiliant cultural exploration. They took a joyful funky take on Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up,” incited debate on “Black Enough” (“...I was thinking if God were that black enough for you...”) and took on sexual innuendos in the tune “You Don’t Want Me.” Internationally flavored hip-hop artist Rico Pabon was a delightful addition in a short segment of poetic lyrics that were fitting and melodically interesting. Who would think that I would actually enjoy anything resembling hip-hop! Dorothy L. Hill -


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