R&B royalty Lady Bianca belts it out in SF Bay Area for her 65th birthday


When it comes to the Bay Area’s R&B aristocracy, no one outranks Lady Bianca. A pianist and vocalist with boundless soul, she spent the first half of her career providing luminous wattage to formidable stars like Frank Zappa, Van Morrison and Sly Stone as a backup vocalist and keyboardist. Also well-versed in jazz, she portrayed Billie Holiday in vocalese pioneer Jon Hendricks’ storied production “Evolution of the Blues” and seems to have absorbed Lady Day’s relaxed, behind-the-beat phrasing.

“When I sing, I noticed that it worked for me to take a little more time, and maybe that was Lady Day’s influence,” she says. “Esther Phillips was an influence, too, the bite and pepper of their music.”

She returns to Armando’s on Aug. 11 and Oakland’s Sound Room on Aug. 17 as part of her month-long celebration of her 65th birthday, joined by her potent working combo with bassist Oshmin Oden and drummer Joey Truso. Veteran guitarist Kenya Baker, whose credits include hit recordings by Tony! Toni! Tone!, Tupac Shakur and Joss Stone (with whom he toured from 2006-10), joins the party at Armando’s.

Lady Bianca came into her own as a recording artist with her aptly named 1995 debut album “Best Kept Secret” (Telarc), which was produced by blues great Joe Louis Walker. Since founding her own label, Magic-O Records, she’s honed her songwriting skills working with her partner Stanley Lippitt on a series of authoritative albums, most recently 2014’s “Real People Music.” Regal and welcoming, she’s a striking presence on the bandstand, delivering bolts of soul cut to her own musical contours.

Details: 8 p.m. Aug. 11 at Armando’s, Martinez; $20; 925-228-6985, www.armandosmartinez.com; 8 p.m. Aug. 17 at The Sound Room, Oakland; $20-$25; 510-496-4180, soundroom.org.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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