Tony Saunders on Bass & Vocals
Marc Daniels Guitar
Tina Bryant Keys
Don Schiff Bass
Larry Vann Drums
Advance reservations – 415-586-3733
You can leave your hat on!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Tony Saunders & Co.
and celebrate as well the 89th anniversary of
Tony’s late father Merl Saunders’ birth.
Tony grew up playing music with his father, who put him through the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying piano, but Tony gravitated to the bass and his father launched him on a career that has included four lps as a leader and countless others as sideman, composer and producer.
In the mid-1970s, Merl formed the “Aunt Monk” band with Larry Vann on drums and a young Tony on bass — in a super line up that included guitarist Chris Hayes (of Huey Lewis & the News) and saxophonist Martin Fierro (Zero). Fantasy Records released Merl Saunders and Aunt Monk’s album, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” with Sheila Escovedo (later famous as Sheila E) on congas, in 1976.
Merl introduced his son to a wide variety of music as he grew up, and to many musicians including a young guitar player by the name of Carl Lockett. Carl and Tony became instant friends and went on to play in several bands together including the Hawkins Family and David Crosby’s group. The musical and personal connection between Tony and Carl formed the core of the band MRLS, a quartet that included Alex Murzyn and David Rokeach, all four major young players of the era. Not coincidentally, the initials of the band members’ last names – Murzyn, Rokeach, Lockett, Saunders — formed the band name, which in itself was a nod to Merl!
Merl Saunders grew up in San Mateo, on the San Francisco Peninsula, and in the early 1950s his first high school band was with Johnny Mathis on vocals. After four years in the military, in 1957, he began to raise a family in San Francisco, while his career in music, which came to include work with countless major stars, began in earnest. Merl Saunders gained a profile as a recording artist and leader once his kids were leaving their teen years behind, and from the early 1970s to his death in 2008, he was particularly well known for the many concerts and albums he did in partnership with Jerry Garcia, and for his Rainforest Band.
We’re happy to invite Tony back to the Bird & Beckett stage this Valentine’s Day to give you a beautiful time and a fond memory that will stay with you for all the Valentine’s Days to come.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site