Arts & Events

Around the East Bay: Courtney Big Band at Yoshi's

Thursday June 18, 2009 - 07:13:00 PM

The late Junius Courtney, trumpeter and vocalist, came west to Berkeley from New Orleans in 1945, founding a number of East Bay combos that broke the color bar. He played society and country club functions before establishing his Big Band in 1966, which long remained a staple at the Shattuck Hotel. Courtney Big Band veteran trumpeter and arranger George “Jazzbeaux” Spencer (also formerly with John Handy and Johnny Otis) now directs the band with the founder’s son, Nat Courtney, on drums and occasional vocals. SF Jazz Heritage Hall of Fame inductee trumpeter Frank Fisher, Cal Tjader alumnus Terry Hilliard on bass, and longtime Courtney pianist Roberta Mandel count for just a few of the 18-member veteran orchestra that makes its long overdue Yoshi’s debut. Bay Area favorite Denise Perrier sings. Monday evening, June 22, at 8 p.m. for The Arrangers’ Showcase. $14. 238-9200; www.yoshis. com.