Karl Bryant at 19th and San Carlos

Karl Bryant, 42, Mission resident.

‘Round midday on a recent Thursday, Karl Bryant stood on 19th and San Carlos, playing jazz licks to a spastic, abstract mural. “It’s kind of like a nostalgia thing,” he said of the moment. “It’s kind of like a push and pull.”

The mural reminded him of his childhood in Chicago’s south side, where a younger version of himself loved breakdancing. But he wasn’t breakdancing today. He was playing his rendition of “For All We Know,” a song made popular by jazz singer Donny Hathaway, he said.

“That’s a nostalgic song dating back to when I was a kid,” he said. “My mom used to play Donny Hathaway records.”  

Bryant frequently plays his horn in the Mission’s alleys, but today was special: he was preparing for a lesson he would be taking at 21st and Capp. Doubtful he needed it, though: he’s been playing since he was seven years old.

“A lot of musicians talk about call and response,” he said. “Call out to the energy and the energy comes back, it comes from anywhere — birds, people, dogs — just energy push and pull.”  

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Julian Mark

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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