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Thursday, October 1st – 7:30-10:00 pm
Remembering Morris Atchison
A tribute by the Michael Marcus Duo

We don't know who that sax player is behind Bobby Bland in this photo, but tenor sax player Morris Atchison certainly occupied that role for a good stretch, and is considered a Bay Area legend on the instrument.

We don’t know who the tenor sax player is behind Bobby Bland in this photo, but Morris Atchison certainly occupied that role in Bobby’s own touring band through the 70s, 80s and 90s, and is considered a Bay Area legend on the instrument. Avotcja (Modupue, KPOO, KPFA) told us Bobby had “the tightest band on the planet” and we have no reason to doubt her! The leader of this tribute, Michael Morris toured with that band, and learned plenty from Atchison on the bandstand… read more below.

Michael Marcus Duo
“Remembering Morris Atchison
Michael Marcus – clarinets
Brian Ho – Hammond orga

This concert, put together by New York clarinetist Michael Marcus, is a tribute to legendary tenor saxist Morris Atchison, an important player out of Oakland, Ca., working primarily in R&B and blues bands. Atchison toured with Bobby Blue Bland during the 70’s & 80’s & 90’s During part of the era, the band included the leader of this date, clarinetist Michael Marcus. Along the way, Atchison played with any number of great musicians including Johnny Talbot-Albert King-Little Johnny Taylor-Sonny Simmons-Muziki Roberson-Eddie Henderson-Sugar Pie DeSanto-Dottie Ivory-Art Lewis-Wayne Bennett-John Handy-Bobby Forte-Charles Brown-and many more artists of elite stature. Morris was awarded “Blues Saxophonist of the year” by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame

Michael Marcus_2Michael Marcus got his start in the Bay Area in 1970’s playing in the local Bay Area blues scene with Sonny Rhodes-Hi TIde Harris-JJ Malone-Charles Brown-Big Joe Turner-before going out road with Mr. Albert King-traveling the “chitlin circuit” with R&B & blues bands also including Bobby Blue Bland & BB King. When Michael toured in the blues circuit, he was the baritone saxist for those bands. After meeting Sonny Simmons at a recording session in Oakland in 1981 and recording his first jazz recording on Simmons date “Backwoods Suite” in 1982 w/Billy Higgins, Marcus decided to move to the Apple to pursue his studies in Jazz performance.This lead to multiple international tours & recordings with artists including Jaki Byard ,Denis Charles, Frank Lowe, Cindy Blackman, Roswell Rudd , Antonie Roney, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Carlos Patato Valdez, Fred Hopkins, and many many more.

Of Atchison, Michael says ” I was honored to know this man! I practiced with him when we were on the road together in Bobby Bland’s band-it was incredible–we talked regularly over the years, though we were on opposite coasts!….he was a true genius!!-with technical mastery of the horn…he new the ‘inner spiritual cycles of harmonics’ with soul!!--he had one of the greatest tenor tones ever!!!-in lineage with: Gene Ammons-Stanley Turrentine-Fathead Newman-King Curtis-Jr. Walker. When we were on stage with Bobby Bland, Bobby would put his mic up to his bell & during his solo he would say ‘You sure sound good tonite, son’…Morris played some of his last jazz gigs with me in in 2014 in Oakland at the 57th St.Jazz Gallery. The world was graced with this giant of the saxophone!..All you needed is to hear one note of Morris & you were through!”

*complete bio/discography: www.michaelmarcusmusic.com



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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

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.

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The Independent Musicians Alliance

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