"Just Like A Woman"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)featuring Kellye Gray, Rhonda Benin, Terrie Odabi and Paula Harris; The Lillian Armstrong Tribute Band $22.50 advance / $24.50 at doorPurchase tickets online
March 27 8:00 pm

In honor of Women’s History Month, an all-star lineup of Bay Area musicians – featuring Rhonda Benin, Kellye Gray, Terrie Odabi, Paula Harris, and the Lillian Armstrong Tribute Band – takes the stage at the Freight to celebrate women: the achievements, the challenges, and the continuing struggle for an equal voice in the music business and in all walks of life.

Rhonda Benin, the producer of the show, is known for her satiny voice, magnetic stage personality, funny sense of humor, and fine dance moves. She sings blues, big band, soul, pop, and African American folk. Since moving to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1989, she’s sung with Mal Sharpe’s Big Money In Jazz Band, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and her own band Soulful Strut. Her distinguished career has included performances and recordings with such legendary artists as Taj Mahal, Wilson Pickett, Richie Havens, Al Green, Jackson Brown, Hugh Masekela, and Sweet Honey In The Rock. She currently serves as Artist in Residence at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito and is on the teaching staff of Jam Camp West, Healdsburg Jazz Festivals, Operation Jazz Band, The San Francisco Arts Project, and Girl Blues and Jazz Camp, working to empower girls and young women and nurture dynamic musicians.

Kellye Gray is a jazz powerhouse. Her twenty-year career has taken her from Sixth Street in Austin to Les Cavaeaux de la Rochette in Paris and the Viva Musica! Festival in Slovakia. JazzTimes Magazine called her “an impressive, indeed frighteningly vast talent.” The Los Angeles Times has praised her “stunning scat singing, instrumental simulations, and dark-toned balladry.”

Statuesque Oakland native Odabi casts a spell on audiences with her soulful voice, captivating energy, and out-of-this-world vocal range. Terrie Odabi’s broad stylistic and linguistic range, including Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern dialects, has made her a vocal asset in demand with bands and recording projects. Her breathtaking work was recently featured on the Tonehammer series, “Forgotten Voices.”  As much as Odabi enjoys collaborating on new and varied projects, she shines as a band leader where she can return to her roots and to what she loves best: jazz, gospel,blues, and soul. Often compared to Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Jill Scott, Odabi blends the old-school with a fresh sound.

Paula Harris sings blues every which way, from elegant and jazzy side to hip-shaking and funky. With her band The Beasts of Soul, she’s won the Golden Gate Blues Society’s Battle of the Bands, The Monterey Blues Festival’s Battle of the Bands, and finished in the top three at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, as well as being nominated for Best New Artist at the 2013 Blues Music Awards.

The Lillian Armstrong Tribute Band features Ruth Davies on bass, Ruth Price on drums, Sonya Jason on saxophone, and Bay Area great Tammy Lynn Hall on keyboards. Lillian Armstrong was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader, and the second wife of Louis Armstrong, her collaborator on many recordings in the 1920s. Her compositions include “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue,” “Don't Jive Me,” “Doin' the Suzie-Q,” and “Just For a Thrill,” which became a hit for Ray Charles in the late 1950s.


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