The Annex Sessions will continue Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 6-8:30pm at El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company Prepared Food Annex (The Annex)
Rhonda Benin Trio
Rhonda Benin – vocals
John R. Burr – keyboards
Ron Belcher – acoustic bass
Jazz, Blues, Soul, and Pop
RHONDA BENIN – Vocalist, Producer, Artist Teacher
“Benin’s got a coolly hip vocal, with a bit of hush and sugar and an undercurrent of big booming power. She can bend notes with a bass, talk serenade with a piano and steam the kettle from the drums”. Ran Pacifica Tribune
San Francisco Bay Area vocalist, Rhonda Benin has earned a reputation for not just a good voice but showmanship, magnetic stage personality, humor, and of course her great dancing. Rhonda’s impressive resume includes performances at SF Jazz, Yoshi’s, MOAD, The Healdsburg, Sonoma, Burlingame, Sausalito, Filmore, and Calistoga Jazz Festivals. In the summer of 2012 Rhonda traveled to Hangzhou, China for a 3 month engagement at the JZ Jazz Club and was 2014 USA headliner for The Kigali Up Music Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition to singing, Rhonda is producer and founder of the annual Women’s History Month show “Just Like A Woman” a tribute to Bay Area Women In Music. Benin is a 26 year member of The GRAMMY nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage. She appears on the CHC’s 7 Cd’s and has toured 30 countries performing and recording with legendary artists such as Taj Mahal, Wilson Pickett, Richie Havens, Odetta. Al Green, Keb Mo, Santana, Patti Austin, Janis Ian, Jackson Brown, Hugh Masekela & Sweet Honey In The Rock.
In 2006 Rhonda produced her first solo CD, A Matter of the Heart a classic mix of jazz, blues, and soul and is currently working on her 2nd CD.
Rhonda is on the teaching staff of Healdsburg Jazz ‘s Operation Jazz Band, San Francisco Arts Project, LEAP, California Conservatory of Music, Cal Performances and conducts her own school assemblies and workshops, “The Voice, The Hands The Feet” “Twist and Shout” and “Love Letters Make Me Misty Blue”.
JOHN R. BURR – Pianist
John R. Burr is that rare pianist who combines jazz technique with a genuine love for folk music. The Philadelphia Weekly said, “Pianist extraordinaire John R. Burr has the most sparkling style since former Allman Brother-turned-Rolling Stone hired hand Chuck Leavell.” Discology wrote, “John R. Burr ranks with the best of the elegant jazzers.”
Years of touring and recording sessions with such artists as Maria Muldaur, The Alison Brown Quartet, Paul McCandless, Michael Manring, and Kathy Kallick, and recognition including a feature spot on Windham Hill’s Piano Sampler II are a testament of his talent.
Living in the San Francisco area, John R found himself at OTR Studios often recording on other people’s albums. There he met Cookie Marenco, the engineer on those sessions. When Cookie founded Blue Coast Records, she knew it was a matter of time before John R had a recording under his own name. The first solo piano album of many to come is called Quarter Tones and displays John R’ intimate relationship with the piano.
His playing is as likely to be inspired by James Taylor or Doctor John as by Oscar Peterson or the Yellowjackets although he says it is his love of folk music that has influenced him most. compassrecords.com/artist/john-r-burr
RON BELCHER – Bassist
Bassist Ron Belcher travels the world from France to Japan and throughout the United States bringing his rhythmically buoyant, emotionally uplifting style to the stage for a wide diversity of jazz artists.
Performing or recording with such international stars as Branford Marsalis, Regina Carter, Rodney Franklin, John Handy, and Pete Escovedo, as well as a literal “who’s who” of the San Francisco jazz scene, Ron has garnered a reputation as one of northern California’s first-call jazz bassists.
A passionate teacher and advocate for children’s education, Ron has served on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Young Musicians’ Program, and has contributed to several seasons for the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures In Music outreach program. Ron ‘s own studies include jazz improvisation and acoustic bass at several Bay Area colleges, culminating in a degree from Texas College, where he had the honor of membership in the East Texas All-Stars.
The Natural Grocery Company is proud to present this series in partnership with SunJams and Javier Navarrette Music Productions.
SunJams is committed to funding children’s music education in underserved public elementary schools. Your donation will help support this ongoing program.
All of the proceeds will go directly to our network of local musicians, each of whom have been severely impacted by the lack of events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you donate $10, $100, or $1000 – any amount helps and will allow us to keep bringing music to our community! As always, your donation to SunJams 501(c)3 may qualify as tax exempt.
Javier Navarrette Music Productions continues to bring live music to several venues around the Bay Area. Javier has been a professional musician and music educator in the Oakland Unified School District for the past 20 years. Over the past few years Navarrette has produced outdoors events that have proven instrumental in enabling musicians to deal with some of the fallout of the pandemic and shutdown that followed.
COVID RELATED SAFETY MEASURES
Please be safe. Feel free to wear a mask if you prefer.
Tickets are NOT required for this venue, you can simply come in, order food and beverages at the Annex counter and pay at the registers.