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Barbara Higbie & Friends: Montreux Band Reunites—This Weekend Only

Yoshi's Oakland made a brilliant choice when it selected pianist/violinist/guitarist/singer/songwriter Barbara Higbie to be its first-ever artist-in-residence.

The Grammy-nominated, Bammy-winning Higbie is one of the best-connected musicians in the Bay Area, appearing on more than 65 albums over the past 25 years with everyone from Carlos Santana to the Kronos Quartet, Cris Williamson and Bonnie Raitt. At Yoshi's, Higbie invites a different set of friends to perform with her every month—a fantasy come true, says the longtime Berkeley resident. "The chance to assemble great musicians in one of the best venues in the country is a huge honor," she told SFGate last fall. "It's also great just to have a budget—to be (able to) call up people and say, 'I can hire you.' "

Her Yoshi's show this weekend may be the best yet: the first reunion in 20 years of the legendary Montreux Band, whose music helped define the Northern California acoustic sound of the 1980s. Higbie (piano), Darol Anger (violin), Mike Marshall ( mandolin/guitar) and Michael Manring (fretless bass) were in their twenties when they created a new genre of music that rocketed from their Live at Montreux recording into heavy rotation on VH1, 10 recordings for Windham Hill Records, and 12 years of touring around the world. All four of the band's members have gone on to have successful solo careers. Their much-anticipated reunion includes two shows on January 14 at Yoshi's (8/10 p.m.) and a January 15 performance at the Napa Valley Opera House (7 p.m.), whose artistic director, Peter Williams, played a key role in bringing the band together one last time. "I really do hope everyone gets to hear this," Higbie says, "as it may never happen again."

DETAILS:

SAT. JAN 14, YOSHI'S OAKLAND
8:00 pm and 10:00 pm $25 www.yoshis.com (tickets to the 8 pm show are selling quickly)

SUN. JAN 15, NAPA VALLEY OPERA HOUSE
7:00 pm www.nvoh.org

Higbie will also be appearing as part of Jennifer Berezan’s CD release show on February 17, 2012, at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage, www.freightandsalvage.org