No one in modern jazz has made better use of the tuba than Arthur Blythe. If that sounds like faint praise, hasten to find In Concert, the CD reissue of the 1975 India Navigation LPs Metamorphosis and The Grip, which pair Blythe’s torrid alto sax with Bob Stewart’s supple tuba for some of the era’s most thrilling improvisational flights. At the time Blythe was the toast of the New York jazz scene, a wild and woolly West Coast cat who moved to Gotham and quickly hooked up with leading figures such as Julius Hemphill, Gil Evans, and Jack DeJohnette. After several India Navigation sessions, he signed with Columbia and released a stream of excellent albums (now out of print) that showcased his searing tone and voluptuous vibrato. While his output has dropped precipitously over the past decade or so, he’s still one of the most rewarding alto players in jazz.In a fitting conclusion to the long relationship between Yoshi’s and Jazz in Flight, the all-volunteer organization that produces the annual Eddie Moore Jazz Festival, Blythe and Stewart are reunited this Monday in a quartet featuring drummer Cecil Brooks III and vibraphonist Gust Tsilis. Born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, Blythe found a terrific mentor in tenor saxophonist Daniel Jackson, a commanding bop-based player who showed him the continuity between rhythm and blues and modern jazz. Around the age of twenty, Blythe moved back to Los Angeles where he found another great teacher in pianist and composer Horace Tapscott, then organizing a radical artist collective. Blythe took the name Black Arthur and immersed himself in the politically charged, aesthetically revolutionary group, which dedicated itself to community uplift. On his first record appearance, Tapscott’s classic 1969 album The Giant Is Awakened, Blythe was already playing the hurtling intensity and raw, bluesy swagger that make his sound so unmistakable.
The Arthur Blythe Quartet plays at 8 and 10 p.m., at Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. 510-238-9200 or Yoshis.com — Andrew Gilbert
If it doesn’t hella humiliate you to declaim, “Oh Romeo, wherefore art thou?” then join the Teen Playreaders at the Berkeley Public Library’s North Branch (Wed., 5 p.m.). … Digital snaps from more than 25,000 photographers — from newbies to top international photojournos — pack America 24/7, a visual time capsule tracing one week in these fifty much-maligned states. Marin-based project directors David Elliot Cohen and Rick Smolan, creators of the globe-spanning Day in the Life series, show slides at Easy Going (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). … Poet Aidan Thompson wrote about the mutability of pollywogs in her book Particle and Probability; she reads with Barbara Joan Tiger Bass at Oakland’s 21 Grand (449 B 23rd St.), $4 (Fri., 7 p.m.). … Too intimidated to approach an open mic at a trendy cafe? Then try it at Borders Milpitas, whose Open Mic for Ages 9 to 99 is ever so friendly (Fri., 8 p.m.). … Deities don’t get old, they just eat less ambrosia. Ask famous Bay Area shrink, archetype sleuth, and Goddesses in Everywoman author Jean Shinoda Bolen at Boadecia’s, where she’s reading from her new book, Crones Don’t Whine (Fri., 7:30 p.m.). … At this month’s California Writers Club meeting, meet Boxes of Years author Katrina Prado, The Memory Manual author Betty Fielding, and the prolific Pearl Atkins Schwartz at Concord’s Hungry Hunter restaurant (1400 Willow Pass Rd.); $18 if you want lunch, free if you don’t; 925-757-3611 (Sat., 11:30 a.m.). … No sleaze and no semiotics; only smart discount-priced books for young readers at the Scholastic Union City warehouse sale (2841 Faber St.; 510-476-1476) (Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.). … East Bayite ex-rapper Renay Jackson signs his raw, randy Oaktown Devil and other mysteries at A World of Books in San Leandro, accompanied by Mickey Mo, who signs his new book The Man (Mon., 5 p.m.). — Anneli Rufus
Holidays from the Hip
A li’l cheer from Mama
The Mama Buzz Holiday Show celebrates the most festive, love-thy-fellow-man time of year (this side of Burning Man, anyway) with eggnog, catered munchies (what, the veggie BLT isn’t good enough for you?); Liminal’s surly Devin Satterfield as Santa; an elfin waitstaff tentatively including DJ Kitty, painter Amy Morrell, and Kitchen Sink editrix-in-chief Jen Loy; and, of course, some ‘unnerful music. Mark Growden will leave his Electric Piñata at home, but will still play his accordion, banjo, and songs about doing the nasty for you. And Hector Goldenstein’s Sweet Monkey Revival, featuring Jolie Holland and refugees from Bustamonte, the Accidental Beauties, and Air Supply (hey, we don’t believe everything we read, either), will be the evening’s background music purveyors. While you’re there, check out the gallery’s current exhibition, Minor Threats, by Darren Jenkins and John C. Rogers. 7 to 10 p.m. at 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Give a holler at 510-465-4073. — Stefanie Kalem
What Foods These Morsels Be
Diesel, A Bookstore has proclaimed Rockridge “the new East Bay Gourmet Ghetto,” citing the presence of such restaurants as Oliveto, À Côté, Soi4, Uzen, Citron, and Garibaldi’s. The longtime Oakland bookstore also styles itself as “a haven for the well-fed foodie wanting a wonderful cookbook for dessert.” Marketing hyperbole aside, the Rockridge neighborhood is indeed a fine place to stroll and nibble, and this Sunday the gastro-literary floodgates will be cranked open wide for Diesel’s Annual Bay Area Cookbook Signing, in which a few of the region’s temples of gastronomy — albeit the Cheese Board, César, and Zuni Cafe — will flog their new cookbooks for admirers. Talk to real live chefs. Obtain signed cookbooks. Elbow your way through crowds of alimentary enthusiasts. Eat free food samples. Behave yourself. The fun begins at 4 p.m. Sunday at Diesel, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. For more info: 510-653-9965 or DieselBookstore.com — Kelly Vance