An ageless wonder, Harold Mabern remains one of the most powerful and important pianists in jazz! The New Yorker says: “Harold Mabern may just be the hardest working octogenarian in jazz. To celebrate his eighty-third birthday, the hard-bop patriarch will do what he does best: “get out of the house and play some gigs!” And a celebration it will be at Black Cat! 4 nights celebrating Mabern, and revisiting some of his greatest Blue Note recording moments, including Hank Mobley’s “Dippin” and Lee Morgan’s “The Gigolo”. Mabern is “one of our last living piano legends…his affinity for the blues honed from Memphis, through the Windy City, and years in the Big Apple!” As a young pianist in Memphis, Mabern met a young cafe server who was then known as Anna Mae Bullock. He helped spawn her musical career that evolved into “Tina Turner”: 12 Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the sale of 200 million albums.
Knowing that bit of history, it’s no surprise that The New York TImes described Mabern’s piano style as being “aggressive, very positive, crashing out chords that drop like pile drivers and warming up and down the keyboard with huge whooping bursts of action…while showing a keen sensitivity as an extremely perceptive accompanist.” Mabern regularly headlines the top NYC jazz venues, including the venerable Village Vanguard, Smoke, and Jazz Standard.
Being back in the San Francisco “historic Tenderloin jazz district” will bring back great memories for Mabern: in 1963 he spent 6 weeks at the Black Hawk with Miles Davis! Mabern has played and recorded with all the legends — Miles, Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Sarah Vaughan, Lee Morgan, Ron Carter, Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, Roy Haynes, Betty Carter, Grant Green, and the list goes on.
Mabern’s rhythm section — drummer Joe Farnsworth and bassist Michael Zisman — react to the bluesy and hard-bop machinations of Mabern’s pianistics with the intimacy of family members.
Featuring DJ Owen Velez spinning jazz vinyl in between sets, until 2 AM! Come to the first show if possible because you will want to return!!!