Awesöme Orchestra announces their upcoming performance with Oakland’s Kev Choice on Saturday, March 23, 2019, 6:00pm at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living. Doors open at 5:30pm
**Online Ticket Sales will end at 2:30pm on Saturday, March 23. A limited number of Pay What You Can walk ups will be available at the venue***
(Musicians: Session 65 will be a rehearsal for this from 2:30-5pm at the same location. You must sign up to participate. More info for players at the bottom of this event listing)
Kev Choice will perform his previously commissioned work by the Oakland Symphony, Soul Restoration Suite with Awesöme Orchestra under the direction of conductor David Möschler. The piece is a combination of Hip-Hop, Classical, Soul, R&B, and Jazz, and features Kev Choice as piano soloist and M.C. The performance will also feature the Kev Choice Ensemble, Oakland School For The Arts High School Vocal Chorus, and special guests Jennifer Johns and Viveca Hawkins. They will also be performing selections form Kev Choice’s critically acclaimed album Oakland Riviera, commemorating the fifth anniversary of its release.
Soul Restoration Suite is Kev Choice’s musical revival, rejuvenation, reestablishment, and transformation. Having been composing and writing songs, raps, and jazz pieces since a child, this is his first work for full orchestra. Choice set out to blend influences from classical music composers such as Ravel, Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff with elements of Hip-Hop production from greats such as A Tribe Called Quest, Jay Dilla, Kanye West, Hieroglyphics, and Dr. Dre. Kev was also heavily influenced and inspired by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Prince, Marvin Gaye, 80s and 90s R&B, and rap music of today.
“I put together Soul Restoration Suite like I was doing an album or EP”, says Kev Choice. “I wanted to mix it up with songs that had lyrics and some that were instrumental. Instead of using my old music, which I have often seen hip-hop artist do when working with a symphony, I wanted to create new songs specifically for orchestra, which I haven’t seen done before.” The piece was first performed with Oakland Symphony under the direction of Michael Morgan on March 23, 2018 at a sold-out Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA.
Oakland Riviera, released in 2014, was Kev Choice’s first solo project to get widespread recognition. SFWeekly named it one of the best Hip-Hop projects in the Bay Area that year. The album featured notable artists Mistah F.A.B, Zumbi of Zion I, Martin Luther, Lalin St. Juste from The Seshen, Phesto Dee from Souls Of Mischief, Kevin Allan, Erk Tha Jerk, and more.
WHEN: Saturday, March 23, 2019, Show at 6pm
WHERE: Oakland Center for Spiritual Living - 5000 Clarewood Dr, Oakland, CA 94618
TICKETS: Suggested donation of $30–$40 to reserve a seat or pay what you can the day of the event. No one turned away for lack of funds.
>> Reserve Your Tickets Here <<
DETAILS: All ages and ADA accessible. Call 510-847-2012 with questions. Visit the event website and Facebook pages to share.
Pianist. Emcee. Producer. Bandleader. Sideman. Music historian. Kev Choice wears many hats, and all of them fit. Blessed with prodigious talent, plus the skill and dedication to his craft to pull it off, the Oakland-based artist is redefining what it means to be a musician in this day and age. Not too many classically-trained pianists who hold Master’s degrees in jazz can rock microphones with blazing-hot 16s.
Yet such versatility comes natural to Choice, whose diverse array of influences ranges from Prince to Rakim to A Tribe Called Quest to Stevie Wonder to McCoy Tyner to Chopin and Ravel.
“I grew up in the Hip-Hop era,” he explains. “I had love for Hip-Hop before I even knew what classical music really was.” Hip-Hop, he says, “was always the music that helped me express myself the most,” while “Classical music gave me a broader understanding and appreciation for music beyond Hip-Hop.”
Choice remembers being “heavily into vinyl” as a young child, which helped him to develop his ear for music. He began playing piano at age 11, and was soon recognized as a prodigy. As a teenager, Choice played in classical and jazz ensembles as part of the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program, and continued his studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans)–where he graduated with a (BM) in music–and Southern Illinois University (Carbondale)–where he graduated with a (MM) in music.
Post-grad school, Choice became an in-demand sideman, recording and touring with the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Lyrics Born, Too $hort, Ledisi and Goapele. In 2007, Lauryn Hill asked him to be her musical director, a gig which took him to 12 countries.
But Choice isn’t just a sideman. As a solo artist, he’s opened for Robert Glasper, Mos Def, Digable Planets, DJ Quik, and J Davey. He leads a jazz-hip-hop-funk big band, the Kev Choice Ensemble, in addition to producing and performing his own material, which includes original jazz and classical compositions as well as classical, jazz, and funk-inspired hip-hop.
---------- info for musicians ----------
Awesöme Orchestra will be holding their Session 65 from 2:30-5pm at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living. This Open Session will serve as the rehearsal for the official performance at 6pm (same location).
Repertoire, instrumentation, and schedule are as follows, with conductor David Möschler:
2:30-3:30pm Kev Choice - "That Life", "MacArthur's Mood", "Golden Chariots", and "Born Conquerors" from his album Oakland Riviera (2014) (~5 minutes each)
INSTRUMENTATION: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (B-flat), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets (C and B-flat), 2 trombones, timpani, 1 percussion (glockenspiel), strings
3:45-5:00pm - Kev Choice - Soul Restoration Suite (2018) (~35')
INSTRUMENTATION: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (B-flat), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets (C), 2 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, 1 percussion (glockenspiel), harp, strings (all performed with choir and Kev Choice Ensemble)
5:00-5:45pm - Dinner Break (food provided!)
6:00pm - Performance!
SHEET MUSIC for upcoming open sessions can always be found on Google Drive at: bit.ly/AOCOpenSession (Sheet music for this session will be posted in the Drive as it becomes available. Make sure to check back soon!)
Reference recordings can be found for all pieces on the Facebook event, on archival recordings in the Google Drive sheet music folder above, or on Bandcamp here: https://kevchoice.bandcamp.com/album/oakland-riviera
Please bring stands and stand lights if you have them (we've got a limited supply to pass around). We'll have chairs, sheet music, water, and free beer for the musicians. Food will be provided for musicians from 5-6pm before the show commences.
The sign-up deadline for all sections is Thursday, March 15. Once that has passed, expect an email from your Awesöme Ambassadors with specific info and part assignments within the week (check your spam filters if this is your first session). Email your ambassadors if you haven't heard back by Wednesday, March 20. (Please be patient—they have a lot of information to collect before emailing everyone.) Their information can be found at www.awesomeorchestra.org/ambassadors