Pascal Bokar Group w/ Banjo Master Avram Siegel & Vocalist Paula Harris

Pascal Bokar’s Afro Blue Grazz

Pascal Bokar Afro Blue Grazz “American Shores”

Throughout his productive musical career, guitarist /vocalist Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam has always understood the connections between West African music and the sounds of the American South. His landmark book Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta discusses the music of the three empires that dominated the culture of West Africa starting in the 6th century, tracing the music from its role in the culture and daily life of Africa to its eventual emergence in the United States. In his teachings, lectures and music (where he displays his own individual voice), Pascal has consistently paid tribute to his ancestors. “As a musician, I have always tries to synthesize the convergence of African esthetics and appreciate their influence in the music of the African American communities of the American South, from the rural sounds of the Blues and Gospel into this music we call Jazz.”

Pascal Bokar’s American Shores, in the “AfroBlueGrazz” style coined by the album’s producer Greg Landau, is an ambitious fusion of textures and styles that comes from Bokar’s unique cultural perspective. As an accomplished Jazz guitarist and scholar of African music and Jazz he consistently heard clear examples of African musical concepts and instruments throughout his musical explorations. In this project he brought together accomplished musicians from Appalachia’s bluegrass style with Senegalese master drummers, African-American Rhythm and Blues singers, funky keyboards, and the stomp/clap percussion of a gospel choir. This eclectic cross cultural mix brings together long lost musical relatives as a platform for Pascal’s rich guitar and vocal improvisation.

Pascal Bokar’s previous recording “Guitar Balafonics” was selected by Downbeat Magazine as one of the “Best CD’s of 2015”. Pascal Bokar is listed in Jazz journalist Scott Yanow’s Book entitled The Great Jazz Guitarists. Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam is also the owner of the Award Winning Savanna Jazz Club of San Carlos, CA, and is recipient of the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award from Berklee College of Music.

Paula Harris

Paula Harris
Paula Harris has been hailed as a powerhouse by anyone’s definition. Often compared to Etta James and Dinah Washington, her fusion of Jazz and Blues will delight fans of both genres. There was a time, particularly in the 1950s and early ‘60s, when the worlds of blues and jazz often overlapped. Blues has always been one of the foundations of jazz, and the best blues performances have the improvising spirit of jazz.

This act takes her listeners back to that golden age of American music when these 2 genres were still closely aligned and illustrates how they formed the bulk of what was considered the popular music of the day.

Paula also pulls in the grooves of soul and R&B and frequently intersperses her songs with impish stories. Don’t be surprised if you get some of what Paula calls The Great American Songbook “PART TWO” further driving her point of jazz and Blues being foundational to all American music home.

Jazz writer Scott Yanow described Paula’s work as “Highly expressive yet subtle singing that gives each song the passion that it deserves.” And commented, “Not too many blues vocalists today interpret material like Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache,” Louis Jordan’s big hit “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” or Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight” (for which the singer wrote new lyrics) but Ms. Harris gives each of these very different songs her own personal interpretations. Their inclusion should alert jazz listeners to the singer’s vast talent”.

With shows that sell out more often than not-and rousing ovations nightly- it’s easy to see why she was awarded the 2018 Award for “Best Female Vocalist in Northern California and has received airplay on more than 3,000 stations world-wide. Get your tickets early and come prepared to be entertained!

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