ALAMEDA -- The High Street Cafe hosted the first concert to benefit the Alameda Multicultural Center on Saturday.

In honor of jazz appreciation month, Anna Maria Flechero headlined with her band, Boy Palacio on keyboards, Lillie Robinson, lead guitar, Ben Luis on bass, and Marlon Green on drums and percussion.

It was an evening of expressive sound stylings by the band, and the incomparable vocal stylings of Flechero. Anna Maria Flechero is a renowned Afro-Filipino singer, songwriter, who also does all her own arrangements. Her compositions are texturally stunning and harmonically rich, with a voice reminiscent of the great Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.

Flechero graced the audience with jazz standards such as "What A Difference a Day Made," "Summertime," as well as contemporary songs like "I Believe I Can Fly."

However, her original songs are her forte.

"I love the jazz standards, naturally, but it is my own creations that I am really into getting the public to listen to now," Flechero said.

She asked the audience to "listen closely to the lyrical content, please."

"My Dream is Your Dream,"a song she wrote about her family and her own life experiences, speaks directly to the dreams and hopes we have for all our children and young adults, whatever their circumstances in life.


Advertisement

Flechero grew up in San Francisco, and has traveled and performed in many countries. In her early 20s, she cofounded Blessed Soul, a 13-piece Latin band that performed on the same bill as Santana, Pete Escovedo and Malo.

Her band members include Ben Luis on bass, who is also the musical director for the Buena Vista Methodist Church in Alameda, and founding member of the band, "Little Brown Brother." Boy Palacio on piano is a recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Assoc. and is the chair of the jazz department at Chabot College. Drummer Marlon Green, who plays jazz, rhythm and blues, has recorded with Jules Broussard and Flip Nunez. Lillie Robinson, on lead guitar also plays bass and is preparing to perform duets with Flechero.

Carlos Zialcita, executive director of the Alameda Multicultural Center, and a musician with the band "Little Brown Brother," organized this benefit.

"The purpose of the Alameda Multicultural Center is to encourage community building and multicultural civic participation among Alameda's diverse communities," he said. "We provide access to many different resources for Alameda students, families, and individuals in collaboration with the Alameda Unified School District, the city of Alameda, and community organizations. We are all about the kids, and as you know, they all need as much as we can provide."