JUNE celebrates Black Music Month! What a wonderful booking at Yoshi’s San Francisco last Friday and Saturday nights - the appearance of two-time Grammy winning vocalist PEABO BRYSON! On the scene Friday. Fans were able to get an up close and personal treat, feel the fire of one of the romantic balladeers who has survived the business since he first came on the scene in the 70s; at the time considered the king!

When Bryson hit the scene, he was among the premier silky-voiced soul artists who energized fans with his sophisticated, sexy, urban contemporary sound. Often preferred to record with female singers. The man has suffered a few ups and downs in his life, lyrics he too can identify with. “I have to choose songs that represent my personality.”

Walt Disney lifted his career - Bryson’s duets on the animated Disney smashes “Beauty and the Beast” (Celine Dion) and “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle, has endeared him to fans, of which he won a Grammy.
for both.

Traditionally, for several years, Bryson is booked during the holiday season, to perform with the San Francisco Symphony, “Colors of Christmas,” concert. Bryson, as host, invites an entourage of celebrity singers, the likes of James Ingram, Jennifer Holiday, Stephanie Mills. SO, it was nice to see him in a nightclub atmosphere.

A smooth charmer, fashionably dressed, Bryson’s warmth and sincerity was felt as he tenderly caressed each song, always a smile, and the feel - WELCOME, I’m yours tonight! And that he was, as he moved with ease across the stage, opened the evening shouting “HELLO SAN FRANCISCO!”

The evening, filled with a timeless mix of pop and soul, energetic. Stage overflowed with instruments, terrific 6-piece band and two female back up singers. Repertoire included hits, “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” acknowledged the duet hit with Roberta Flack, beautifully done with one of his vocalist. He spoke admirably of Roberta.

Surprised many of us when he reached for his guitar (didn’t know he played the instrument), shared he would soon record with smooth Jazz fusion guitarist Earl Klugh a song entitled “King of Sorrow,” commenced to pick the guitar in soft touch, at times Flamingo style, intermittently sung the lyrics. The moment was the highlight of the evening - whenever released, the song promises to be a solid hit!

Eased into a crowd pleaser, “Can You Stop the Rain,” a rousing oldie from earlier album hit “Show and Tell,” got the audience into the rhythm, as he sexually moved in tight pants. A beautiful “Whole New World” with vocalist, “Feel the Fire,” with so much feeling, ended the first set, stating “this is too sedate, Stand up - clap your hands, reach up “ - that’s how he left us , feeling good, loving him as always!

At the end of the first set, he passed out gorgeous long-stemmed red roses to those near the stage. Missed the opportunity to capture him in my cell phone lens!

Friday, a sellout, saw many women in the audience, swooning over the FOXY STAR! Three ladies from Palo Alto - poetess Kalamu Chache, of Kalamu Productions (East Palo Alto)...Lakiba Pittman, Director, Office of Diversity, Nortre Dame University, and Saundra Curry - THEY LOOOVED Mr. Peabo!

Appearing TONIGHT at Yoshi’s, classic soul balladeers, The Main Ingredient, featuring CUBA GOODING, SR.

Prior to catching the Friday night show, a taste for soul food, stopped in GUSSIE’S Restaurant, formerly Emmit Powell’s place, on Eddy and Fillmore. My FAV - fried chicken, greens, Mac and Cheese, candied Yams, and lemonade. A jazz band was setting up to play, and the Friday evening only buffet would be served. Gussie’s got it going on!

On the street, ran into THOMAS ROBERT SIMPSON, Founder/Producer AFROSOLO Theatre Company, shared in August he has a big production coming up in Yerba Gardens; Stopped in Lush Life Gallery to converse with renowned Jazz photographer MARS BRESLOW (his famous jazz pictures featured in Yoshi’s showroom) volunteering, greeting visitors. Currently, a marvelous cultural art exhibit to warm your heart - HILDA ROBINSON’s “Didn’t We Have Fun!” Her colorful vibrant oil pastels and book are based in everyday glimpses of African Americans. The exhibit runs through July 7. Timely, for the JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION on Fillmore, this Saturday.

SUNDAY STREETS KICKOFF in Bayview District was a lot of fun - folks hanging out in the sunshine, which didn’t last all afternoon, but REED FROMER and band kept the temperature hot, as did Original G swinging band. Entertainment included Prescott Circus Theatre with Circus Bella teaser; Health Fair at the Bayview Opera House; Arts activities with BMAGIC.

Seen hanging out - District Supervisor MALIA COHEN, former CPUC Commissioner TIMOTHY SIMON, S.F. Port Commissioner KIMBERLY BRANDON, and dancers CARLTON “DAN” DANIELS and partner BARBARA STEWART. Enjoyed delicious Ethiopian inspired meal at Radio Africa and Kitchen on Third at Oakdale.

BAYVIEW SECTION OF THIRD STREET IS COMING ALIVE! On a recent Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Chapter of The LINKS Incorporated, presented the documentary film “The Waiting Room,” at the Bayview Opera House, followed by panel discussion with distinguished Black leaders in the medical field, and producer of the film Peter Nicks; Award -winning journalist BELVA DAVIS served as moderator. The film explores the impact of America’s health care policy on one county hospital and the population of largely uninsured patients it serves. Scary!

THIRD ON THIRD STREET! 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, The Bayview neighborhood comes ALIVE for 3rd on Third, a community-wide arts celebration for the whole family! Activities include the unveiling of six StreetSmARTS murals by local artists, pop-up Galleries, a special children’s zone with free art-making activities, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and LIVE musical performances on STERN GROVE Festival Association’s PREMIER “GROVE ON THE ROAD” stage. DON’T MISS IT!

E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net