We Are Oakland


Paying homage to the great city of Oakland and all its musical excellence

SPECIAL GUESTS Linda Tillery, John Santos, and kev choice

linda tillery

Before becoming a prominent figure in women's music in the 1990s, Bay Area native Linda Tillery began her singing career in the 1960s with the gender-integrated psychedelic/soul band the Loading Zone, which was modeled somewhat after Sly and the Family Stone. After two albums with that band, Tillery released her solo debut, Sweet Linda Divine, on CBS in 1970 to enthusiastic reviews and high praise. She spent most of the '70s singing and playing drums on over 40 albums, including efforts by Mary Watkins and Teresa Trull. Having become a staff musician and producer at Olivia Records, Tillery released her second solo album, a self-titled effort, on the label in 1978, garnering a Bay Area Music Award for Best Independently Produced Album; Tillery has twice gone on to win Bay Area Jazz Awards for Outstanding Female Vocalist.


John santos

Seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist, US Artists Fontanals Fellow, and 2013-2014 SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today.  He was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music.

He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, and has earned much respect and recognition as a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer whose career has spanned four decades. John has performed and/or recorded with acknowledged, multi-generational masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Lázaro Ros, Bobby Hutcherson, Manny Oquendo, Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, and Buenavista Social Club. 

kev choice

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.

 Kev Choice is a true musician, cultural historian, and urban griot dedicated to cultural expression and the art of making quality music.