SF Weekly Music Awards 2002

A galaxy-spanning journey through space and sound!

Soul/Blues/Funk

Ledisi

Ledisi can do it all. Born in Louisiana to a mother in an R&B band, the esteemed vocalist (who eschews her last name, Young) sang with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra at the ripe old age of 8. When her family moved to Oakland soon after, Ledisi (which means "to bring forth" in Nigerian) continued singing in a wide variety of combos and styles. She studied opera and piano at UC Berkeley's Young Musicians Program as a teen, then got a high-profile gig in 1990 with Beach Blanket Babylon, the long-running S.F. satirical cabaret show in which she still performs. In the early '90s she tried on a new style, supplying vocals for acid-jazz band Slide Five, before opting to go her own way by forming Anibade (her middle name) with keyboardist Sundra Manning. The latter group quickly gained a reputation for its sultry mix of R&B, soul, funk, and jazz, as well as for Ledisi's seductive, fluid vocals. The band was asked to play with a veritable who's who of modern soul, including D'Angelo, the Roots, Eric Benet, Morris Day, Angie Stone, the Average White Band, and Tony! Toni! Toné! With fans clamoring for recorded material, Anibade taped a demo of a tune called "Take Time," which scored significant airplay on KMEL-FM (106.1). Frustrated by the subsequent major-label runaround, Ledisi self-released her first solo album, Soul Singer, in early 2000 on her and Manning's LeSun Records. The disc garnered critical huzzahs, most notably for the gripping account of a sexually abused daughter, "Papa Loved to Love Me." In February of this year, Ledisi issued her second effort, Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue, which includes vivid reinterpretations of such jazz standards as "'Round Midnight," "Straight, No Chaser," and "In a Sentimental Mood." While recent throat problems have slowed her down a bit, Ledisi's still a powerhouse performer -- one whose skills know no boundaries and whose art just keeps getting better. Grammy nominee India.Arie said after seeing Ledisi play in New York, "I just had to bow down to her expertise."

The Coup.
Timi D
The Coup.
Gold Chains.
Sue Costabile
Gold Chains.
Hamsa Lila.
Hamsa Lila.
Henri-Pierre Koubaka.
Alicia Bierstaker
Henri-Pierre Koubaka.
Anthony Blea of Orquesta Charanson.
Eric Schumacher
Anthony Blea of Orquesta Charanson.
Jenna Mammina.
Michael Sexton
Jenna Mammina.
Rova Saxophone Quartet.
Dennis Letbetter
Rova Saxophone Quartet.
Scott Amendola.
Akim Aginsky
Scott Amendola.
eXtreme Elvis.
Nick McDonell
eXtreme Elvis.
eXtreme Elvis.
Nick McDonell
eXtreme Elvis.
The Phenomenauts.
Liz Lazich
The Phenomenauts.
Project:Pimento.
Steve Luchsinger
Project:Pimento.
Call and Response.
Alex Hoerner
Call and Response.
Bart Davenport.
Terri Loewenthal
Bart Davenport.
Etienne de Rocher.
Velvy Appleton
Etienne de Rocher.
Angry Amputees.
Joy Anderson
Angry Amputees.
Bottles and Skulls.
Pauline Shapiro
Bottles and Skulls.
Bottles and Skulls.
Pauline Shapiro
Bottles and Skulls.
Bottles and Skulls.
Pauline Shapiro
Bottles and Skulls.
Fracas.
Larry Wolfley
Fracas.
Coachwhips.
Jeremy Harris
Coachwhips.
Erase Errata.
Dallas Kavanaugh
Erase Errata.
Numbers.
Indra Dunis
Numbers.
Ledisi.
Peggy Moore
Ledisi.
Kim Nalley.
Steve Sheraton
Kim Nalley.
Raw Deluxe.
Tadd Cortell
Raw Deluxe.

Kim Nalley

Acclaimed vocalist Kim Nalley cites Dinah Washington and Dianne Reeves as her favorite singers, and it's easy to see why. Like those greats, Nalley is at home in a number of genres, gliding effortlessly between jazz, blues, and R&B. Her great talent is in making whatever she sings her own, a skill Nalley honed in a short but impressive career that has included everything from pop and opera to swing and big band jazz. Nalley's prodigious skill as a chanteuse has led to her working with the likes of Marcus Shelby, San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, and legendary Jazz Messengers pianist James Williams. Nalley's expressive voice -- at times recalling Washington's or Billie Holiday's -- has only improved over the years, and her extraordinary ability is plain to see on her latest release, Need My Sugar. Produced by the singer herself, the CD features Etta James pianist Dave Matthews, along with celebrated bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Kent Bryson. In addition to a version of James' "At Last" that must be heard to be believed, Nalley turns in delightful takes on "September in the Rain" and "Goin' to New York." When not tucked away in the studio, Nalley keeps busy with a jet-setting schedule of concerts. She has performed at a host of international jazz fests, including the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the Monterey and Tokyo jazz festivals, and the Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing in New York City.

Raw Deluxe

Whether Raw Deluxe is in its free-flowing improvisational mode or working through the sweaty structures of its awe-inspiring catalog, the quintet is always a sure bet for a good time. With a musical history that stretches back to the Bay Area's late-'90s acid jazz and hip hop scene, the band has spent almost five years building a reputation for expert guitar work, energetic horns, and propulsive organ grooves. Comprised of Chris Spano on drums, Chris Arenas on bass, Matt Fleming on the electric piano and organ, Tony Jurado on sax, and Jason Collins on guitar, Raw Deluxe released its acclaimed debut EP, Back to the Jungle, in 2001. XLR8Rmagazine promptly hailed the effort as "killer jazz-funk," and the band reeled in a host of awards that year. The six-song disc -- especially the awesome single "Get Some" -- whetted the appetites of many funk fans. Raw Deluxe intends to deliver its bootylicious follow-up sometime in 2003, after the group comes back from its current West Coast tour. Of course, the group may never return: Like true road warriors, Raw Deluxe has been gigging nonstop in support of Back to the Jungle. For this boombastically fun live band, the stage is a home away from home, especially when the ensemble's playing with such popular acts as Marginal Prophets, Boomshanka, Mission:, and the Breakestra. Wherever Raw Deluxe is, it can always be counted on to cook up a savory mix of danceable tunes. If you like your funk steaming, try it Raw.

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