nicolas bearde

 Nicolas Bearde performs at Blue Note on Feb. 15.  

Kola Shobo

Jazz vocalist Nicolas Bearde has been described by critics as “honey-voiced.” On Feb. 15, he will be performing his Valentine’s Day-themed set “Jazz for Lovers” live at Blue Note in downtown Napa.

The show will feature a romantic repertoire of standards and original music from his album “All About Love” (2004), as well as his latest release, “Invitation” (2016).

Bearde made his mark in jazz as part of Bobby McFerrin’s revolutionary a cappella group, “Voicestra.” His silky baritone sound has been compared to that of Johnny Harman, Lou Rawls and Joe Williams.

His resume includes performances in the Bay Area at the SF Jazz Center and Yoshi’s, as well as jazz festivals around the world from Beijing, Tokyo, and Moscow, to Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, the North Sea and Montreux.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Bearde left home at the age of 18. He spent two years in the military serving in Japan in the 1970s, followed by several years living and working in the Los Angeles music scene. He finally settled in San Francisco where he was initiated into the local music scene in the 1980s, and he has called the Bay Area his home ever since.

In 1997, Bearde founded his own record company, Right Groove Records, as a platform to release his solo material. His first album, “Crossing the Line,” was released the following year and landed in the Top 10 on British Soul charts. Over the past 20 years, Bearde has released five studio albums. His latest album, “Invitation,” was produced by Nat Adderley Jr. (nephew of jazz legend Cannonball Adderley) and released in January 2016. It quickly placed in the Top 20 on the Jazz Week charts, earning rave reviews.

Chris Louden of Jazz Times wrote, “When jazz intersects soul, there are few more satisfying stylists than Nicolas Bearde, a richly impressive amalgam of Bill Withers and Billy Eckstine.”

Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz said, “When Nicholas Bearde’s soulful and affecting baritone sit atop these impeccably tailored arrangements of sterling standards, the results are absolutely stunning.”

Jazz fans are encouraged to buy their tickets to “Jazz for Lovers” in advance. Bearde previously performed two nights at Blue Note Napa in September to a crowded house. Followers of Bearde traveled from all over the Bay Area, and even as far as Sacramento and Reno to watch the jazz singer’s September performance.

The shows are Thursday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.). Tickets are $15-$30. Blue Note Napa is at 1030 Main St., Napa. For details, call (707) 880-2300 or visit bluenotenapa.com.

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