Arts & Events

Around & About--Music: Kent Nagano Conducts; Kalil Wilson Sings; The Israeli Chamber Project Plays ...

Ken Bullock
Friday March 25, 2016 - 05:21:00 PM

—Kent Nagano, who stepped down after 30 years at the podium of the Berkeley Symphony in 2009, will conduct the Montreal Symphony with pianist Danil Trifonov in a program featuring Debussy's Jeux (1913), Prokofiev's Piano Concerto in C major, Opus 26 (1921) and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (also 1913--and, like Jeux, composed for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with Nijinsky)--this Saturday night, March at 8, for Cal Performances at Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC campus, Bancroft near Telegraph Avenues. Tickets: $21-$150. (including program notes); 642-9988. 


—Kalil Wilson, splendid jazz singer (he's also an operatic tenor, as well as an R&B vocalist), and his truly swinging trio LOVE (Dan Marshack on keyboards; Chris Bastian, bass; and talented yyoung drummer Genius Wesley) will put in three sets this Saturday night at Sliver, the pizzeria with a full bar at 2132 Center Street, between Shattuck and Oxford in downtown Berkeley--a no-cover venue for other fine local musicians, including jazz trumpeter Geechi Taylor, who plays this Sunday, 4:30-8:30. 


Kalil Wilson was born in 1981 in Oakland, son of classical flutist Jackie Wilson and popular African band leader Baba Ken Okulolo (who sometimes accompanies Kalil on percussion), sang with the Oakland Youth Chorus as a boy, and attended the Young Musicians program at UC-Berkeley before earning his degree in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. He's been mentored in jazz by the likes of Kenny Burrell, and has sung operatically at the Met in New York and with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. 


His grasp of jazz idiom, apparent both in his remarkable grasp of jazz standards, show tunes and the tunes of the Great American Songbook, as well as originals, is remarkable. (How many singers of his generation routinely do tunes like "My Romance" or "Three Little Words," selling them with ease to attentive, enthusiastic audiences of all ages?) And some of the greatest jazz and pop standards he's made his own, regularly stopping the show with a broad range of tunes, from a Latin-flavored "Nature Boy" to a duo with piano of "Alfie." 


Hopefully, there'll be more shows with Kalil soon in Berkeley, Sliver being a lively place the last Saturday he played there; and there have been frequrent appearances with Yancie Taylor's vibes-driven combo at Geoffrey's Inner Circle ( or on Facebook) at 410-14th Street, off Broadway in downtown Oakland, which features soul food dinners at a low price in addition to a very reasonable show ticket. And Kalil plays three no-cover sets every Wednesday with LOVE from 6 pm at Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight, a few doors west of Ashbury, in San Francisco, a full bar with pizza and salads, where three performances of the moth are followed around 9 by another three sets by saxophonist Patrick Wolff and his bop band. (including samples of his CD Easy to Love--and more on YouTube), (510-356-4044), (415-552-6949), Geoffrey's Inner Circle (510-839-4644


--Berkeley Chamber Performances will feature a concert at 8 this Tuesday night, March 29, by the Israeli Chamber Project (Tibi Czigar, clarinet; Edward Arron, cello; Sivan Magen, harp; Assaff Weisman, piano; Wentung Kang, viola and Carmit Zori, violin), a group based in New York and Tel Aviv, playing Saint-Saens' Fantaisie for Harp & Viola, Opus 124; Ice Palace, by the young Israeli composer Zohar Sharon (commissioned for the Israeli Chamber Proect); Bohuslav Martinu's three movementChamber Music No. 1; Mozart's Violin Sonata K 378, arranged by Anton Andre as Clarinet Quartet in B flat major; and Brahms' four movement Trio for Violin, Cello & Piano in C minor, Opus 101. 


The performance is followed by a complimentary wine and cheese reception, with opportunity to meet the artists. 


Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue between Dana and Ellsworth Streets. Tickets: $30; students through high school, free; post-high school students, $15. ; 510-525-5211