For immediate release September 4, 2015
Gregory James Quartet Headlines Doc’s Lab Anniversary on Friday, September 11
San Francisco is a city that loves tradition and change in pretty much equal measure. That’s why it seems so fitting that Gregory James be called upon to perform the musical soundtrack at the first anniversary of one of The City’s finest new nightspots. On Friday, September 11, The Gregory James Quartet, featuring bassist Kai Eckhardt, will play at Doc’s Lab, carrying on the legendary tradition of adventurous, creative music and performance art carved out by the previous tenant at 124 Columbus Avenue, The Purple Onion.
During the 1950s and ‘60s The Purple Onion became known for hosting the likes of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor, for being the stage where folks like Phyllis Diller and The Kingston Trio got their start, and by the 1980s rock bands like Les Claypool’s Flying Bucket Brigade were recording live albums there. “The history of the room is very special to me as a native,” says guitarist Gregory James, noting that this is also the sole appearance he has booked with his longtime bassist and collaborator Kai Eckhardt. “This is special,” he says.
Gregory James grew up in San Francisco, absorbing what he calls, “One big, beautiful mélange of American music,” the classic music of Broadway, jazz hybrids like Charles Lloyd’s quintet, and the psychedelic rock heard in Golden Gate Park. “That’s probably why I tend to blur jazz and rock more thoroughly than a lot of people,” he says.
James’ first album, Alicia, was released on New York’s Inner City label in 1978. He produced records in the San Francisco Bay area over the next three decades featuring Paul McCandless, Ron Miles, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jenny Scheinman, Raul Rekow, Karl Perrazo, Paul Van Wageningen, Celia Malheiros and others. His bands have been defined by great bass players – Marc Van Wageningen, Derek Jones, Jon Herrera, Benny Reitveld, and again on his latest release, Cult of Beauty, the genre-hopping Kai Eckhardt.
Cult of Beauty is the eleventh album by James. Like the best of his previous work, this one pinches from the raw soulfulness of earliest jazz-rock-funk adventures. And as much as it features his nimble guitar work, it exposes the explosive rhythms of Kai Eckhardt, the stylistic and funky bassist who has gained fame through work with John McLaughlin, Garaj Mahal and others.
Doc’s Lab is an intimate, great sounding performance venue in North Beach, on Columbus between Jackson and Pacific. Doc’s Lab was named for the trailblazing marine biologist Edward Ricketts, drinking buddy, collaborator and best friend of John Steinbeck. Fittingly, the club has fantastic craft cocktails, over 50 types of bourbon, whiskey and rye, and great food by Chef Justin Deering. Seating is given on a first come, first served basis.
The Gregory James Quartet, featuring Kai Eckhardt on bass, Rita Thies on woodwinds, and Rob Rhodes on drums, appears at Doc’s Lab, 124 Columbus Ave., on Friday, September 11 at 9pm.
Tickets are available at www.docslabsf.com