Drummer Donald Bailey to Play Yoshi’s Oakland

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If there ever were an audio analogy to JazzTimes‘ Overdue Ovation column, it’d be the Talking House label’s “Blueprints of Jazz” series, whose albums by Mike Clark, Billy Harper and Donald “Duck” Bailey count among 2009’s most welcome recordings. The third installment in the Blueprints series, released back in March, features Philly-born, Oakland-based drummer (and harmonica player) Bailey in a grittily swinging quintet with bassist Tyrone Brown, pianist George Burton, saxophonist Odean Pope and trumpeter Charles Tolliver. Bailey’s album is the kind of unassuming killer that slips under many critics’ radar but is worth seeking out: it’s rugged in all the right places, evoking the sort of inside/outside hard bop, blues and modal playing of your favorite ’60s and ’70s vinyl.

The 76-year-old drummer will appear this Wednesday and Thursday at Yoshi’s in Oakland, in a tribute performance featuring saxophonist Charles McPherson, keyboardist Chester Smith, guitarist Bruce Forman and more. (The concerts will also act as benefits for Bailey, who has been struggling economically and has health problems.) Shows begin at 8 p.m. each night; for tickets and more information, visit the Yoshi’s site or call (510) 238-9200. Cover charge is $20.

For more on Bailey’s career, including his influential tenure with Jimmy Smith, read Shaun Brady’s March 2009 Opening Chorus profile. You’ll also want to check out Lee Hildebrand’s recent San Francisco Chronicle feature. To purchase Bailey’s album, visit the Talking House site.