Thursday, May 21, 1998
Last seen in town giving a dynamite performance with the Left Coast Jazz All-stars in January, trumpeter Clyde "The Slyde" Sutliffe brings his 1996 Bammie-nominated group Dogslyde to The Jazz Store Saturday. The Bay Area-based quartet will play original compositions from their debut full-length CD Hair of the Dog, due out in about a month on the German label Intuition.
Dogslyde should be a familiar name to jazz fans who enjoy the progressive music that has been coming out of the San Francisco area for the last eight or so years. All the talk about acid jazz or new jazz, beginning roughly with the emergence of the Charlie Hunter Trio and the trademark fusion of jazz and hip-hop championed by Alphabet Soup and other young players of that scene, has subsided for now. But in its wake, Dogslyde continues to produce fresh, inventive music, that melds funk, Latin, hard bop and the new jazz into a pleasing performance, something jazz listeners of all persuasions will enjoy.
While in town last week to celebrate a birthday (I didn''t ask, OK?) with his wife Beverly, Sutliffe stopped into KRML and The Jazz Store for an on-air interview, and afterwards we talked by phone for an update on what the band is about. Two years ago, Dogslyde made several appearances in the area, most notably the 1996 Monterey Jazz Festival and a few gigs at Whitey''s Place while acid jazz was king at that venue. While the rhythm section remains the same, with Ben Leinbach on drums and Mike Silverman, bass, "every other person has changed," says the affable Sutliffe. "This weekend we''ll have a talented tenor saxophone player Matt Cowan. [Filling in for alto saxophonist Ron Graham who can''t make the gig.] I discovered him through the bass player...I''ve grown to appreciate his type of playing, more in the trad sense, not so verbose, a more concise player. I think he''ll be a real good player for this venue."
A veteran of the San Francisco jazz scene, the classically trained trumpeter who also doubles on keyboards has made a name for himself outside of this band as part of the short-lived success story Papa''s Culture, not to mention numerous indie recordings as a hired performer and songwriter. Sutliffe, who self-produced the upcoming debut recording, was helped by producer Lee Townsend to get the three-record deal with Intuition. Townsend, producer of albums by Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and others, a "patron saint" of sorts for young jazz players in the Bay Area, will produce his next CD. Coming up June 20, Dogslyde opens for guitarist John Scofield at Yoshi''s in Oakland.
"I can''t believe I''m going to share the stage with the guy," he muses. "Hope I don''t pass out."
Dogslyde, Saturday, 7:30pm, The Jazz Store, $20 for two sets, reservations suggested at 624-6432.
Sincewe''re on the subject of new jazz, Charlie Hunter brings his latest band, Pound for Pound to Palookaville in Santa Cruz Wednesday. He''s touring in support of his fourth Blue Note recording (his fifth overall), The Return of the Candyman. While he has had great success with the union of his eight-string guitar playing (a wonderous sight to see when he buckles down to simultaneous bass lines and melodic lead solos) and horn players backed by the fabulous Scott Amendola on drums, for this outing he has switched to a decidedly percussive sound. Polyrhythmic interest is added to Amendola''s fierce, driving technique with the addition of John Santos on percussion (known for his Afro-Caribbean group Machete Ensemble), and rising star vibraphonist Stefon Harris.
"I not only wanted to play in a more percussive setting this time out," the 30-year-old, ex-Berkeley resident who recently moved to New York says, "but I also wanted to dig into new realms of tonality and timbre."
If you missed the chance to hear this new group at last year''s Monterey Jazz Festival, or because you saw them and know it''s worth the trip, go north to experience this young jazz star''s newest project.
Charlie Hunter & Pound for Pound, Wednesday, 9pm, Jack Gates Trio opens, Palookaville, 21 and over show, $12.50 advance, $14.50 door, 454-0600.
Backon the local scene, I''ve received calls from bands letting me know where they''re playing this week.
Justin Saunders, lead guitarist with the popular rock band Juice, says "the band is doing real good and gearing up for the Modern Rock Festival," scheduled for July 18 at the Monterey Fairgrounds. Their appearance Friday at Whitey''s Place will be the last show for them before the festival, but meanwhile they will be working on recording a four song demo up in Berkeley. Last time at The Place they packed it. It seems word-of-mouth among locals is sometimes sufficient when you''ve got a good thing going. Joining Saunders in Juice is Sean Michael White, bass, guitar, vocals; Mitch Fadem, piano, organ, bass and background vocals; and Charlie Sutter, drums.
And jazz drummer Dottie Dodgion has a good thing going at La Fontana this week and every week. The nimble-fingered, fast-flying guitarist Bruce Forman joins the Dot both Thursday and Friday for some swinging jazz. On bass, Thursday, is Nat Johnson, and on Friday, Bryan McConnell. The trio will certainly be cooking up some danceable and listenable tunes. These are all top-notch jazz artists.
Dottie Dodgion Trio, La Fontana at The Travel Lodge on Fremont St., Thurs., 8pm - 12am, Fri., 9pm - 1am, no cover, 646-1330.
Juice, Friday, 9:30pm, Whitey''s Place, $2 cover, 646-8383.
FernwoodResort in Big Sur begins a regular diet of live music this Saturday night with the Rus Gib Band, a group of Big Sur rockers. On Sunday evening, The Blackouts return to rock the place. And Sunday afternoon you can hear acoustic guitar/vocals between 1:30pm and 4pm. Brad Mallory, who bartends at Fernwood, says he is on the lookout for more bands to book at Fernwood.
Rus Gib Band, Saturday, 9pm; The Blackouts, Sunday, 9pm. Fernwood Resort, Big Sur. 667-2422.