Bread & Roses 2003 - Boz Scaggs Interview

Boz is Back

[By Paul Liberatore, July 10, 2003]

From The Marin Independent Journal

Boz Scaggs had never worked with an acoustic jazz quartet before he performed at the Opera House in San Francisco for the 25th anniverary concert of Bread & Roses.

Three years later, he's preparing to release a new album of jazz standards, titled "But Beautiful," that he recorded with those same musicians.

Boz Scaggs performs selections from new album of jazz standards, "But Beautiful," at the Bread & Roses benefit at the Herbst Theatre.

Fariña, a renowned folk singer with her late husband, Richard Fariña, and later as a solo performer, started Bread & Roses in 1974 to bring free live music to people shut away in hospitals, prisons, homes for the elderly and other institutions. The 58-year-old Scaggs has been involved with the organization from the beginning.

"Bread & Roses has always been close to musicians because of Mimi being a musician," he said. "From the time I moved to San Francisco in 1967 to play with the Steve Miller Band, there was a lot of support in the music community for one cause or another, but this one was special because it was put on by people who understood where musicians' hearts are.

"This is a cause that musicians can take to heart because one of our main reasons for being is to share our music with other people, and this takes us to people who probably wouldn't otherwise get to hear music on quite this level," he said. "There was always a special connection between musicians and the places we were able to reach through Bread & Roses."

One of the forsaken places that Scaggs was able to reach through Bread & Roses was inside San Quentin Prison, the most memorable concert of his remarkable career. "I remember that San Quentin show as one of the most powerful experiences of my life," he said. "I can't think of any other incident in my life to compare with what it's like to walk through those gates and feel that atmosphere. That was a very heavy place to be for me.

I told myself that I would do it again and again. I never have done it again. I'm not sure why. But it seemed so important to do that. I remember thinking that I must do more of this because it was so well received and appreciated.

While he may have done only one prison show, Scaggs has donated his time and talents to various benefits and events for Bread & Roses for nearly 30 years, including acoustic performances at the historic Bread & Roses music festivals at the Greek Theater in Berkeley in the '70s.

"It's a real tribute to Boz that he has maintained his loyalty for so many years, even after Mimi's passing," said Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper. "He's been a real constant in our extended family, and we couldn't be more grateful."

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