Thursday, February 10, 2000
What''s Up, Chuck?
Just about the time you''re about to give up on the scene, along comes a week like this, where there''s something for almost every musical taste. This is not a weekend to sit back and watch TV; get out there and shake your booty.
Sly McFly''s is hosting a sorta mini-blues festival this weekend. Opening the fest, tonight, is Bob Margolin, formerly a guitarist with Muddy Waters'' band. So, you better believe the guy knows his way around Chicago-style blues. Margolin''s ''99 Blind Pig release, Hold Me To It, is a rich, soulful, gut-wrenching bundle of blues. Young guitarists who mimic their elders should get their butts down to this show. Sure, you can hear all the flashy, technically brilliant stuff that so many young contemporary musicians think are the blues. But the difference is it''s laid down on top of some real soul. It testifies. Maybe that''s because Margolin writes a lot of his own music; he doesn''t have to pretend it''s personal, it just is. Saturday''s show features King Ernest, who started singing the blues in his birthplace, Natchez, Mississippi. He kept singing ''em in Chicago. And New York. And Los Angeles. Perseverance counts. Now, after nearly a half century of making music, the 60-year-old singer is still putting on spirited stage shows--and getting some respect. The mini-festival finishes up with well-known Bay Area guitarist Chris Cain doing his blend of blues on Saturday, following the Big Sur JazzFest Party. (Keep reading).
Bob Margolin, Thursday, 9pm; King Ernest, Friday, 9pm; Chris Cain, Saturday, 9:30pm. Sly McFly''s, 649-8050.
Big Sur JazzFest Party
The Big Sur JazzFest, scheduled for May 5-7, is celebrating the release of its lineup for this year with a pair of parties featuring Bay Area singer Ledisi, who wowed the crowds at last year''s festival.
Ledisi, Friday, 9pm, Big Sur River Inn; Saturday, 9pm, Sly McFly''s, 667-1530.
A host of jazz musicians who are well known to local audiences are gathering for "Jazz From the Heart," a Valentine''s eve concert. More or less headlining the show are flutists Kenny Stahl and Ali Ryerson. They''ll be joined by Peggy Brown, Fast Eddie Erickson, Weber Iago, Charles Loos, Mike McKinley, Mickey McPhillips, Bob Phillips, Gary Sage, Dennis Murphy, Machucho Bonilla, Mario Flores and Greg Janusz. The music for the night will run the gamut from Dixieland to Latin jazz, and look for some helpings of humor along the way. Should be a fun, comfortable way to get ready for kissy-face day.
Kenny Stahl, Ali Ryerson and friends, Sunday, 7:30pm. Steinbeck Forum, Monterey Conference Center, $20. 372-1942.
Franco Morone has such a smooth, beautiful style of finger-picking his guitar that listening to it is almost as good as getting a massage. Most of the songs on his ''98 release, Melodies of Memories, are written by Morone, but you can frequently hear traces of the traditional folk musics from around the world that influence the Italian guitarist. If you''re a fan of someone like John Renbourne, you don''t want to miss this show.
Franco Morone, Saturday, 8pm. Capsicum, $12/advance; $13/door, 373-7379.
Normally, I cringe a little when faced with reggae or ska music. I can respect it, but the repetitious rhythms don''t rock my world. The Robustos, however, may just lower my threshold to the scene. The band, from Atlanta, is described by their label, Beatville, as a ska band with traces of soul, jazz and pop music. To me it sounds like the love child of a union between ska and Motown. Very soulful, very danceable. The band was in town in ''99, and Morgan Christopher says they put on the best show in his joint all last year. And that''s why they''re here again.
The Robustos, Tuesday, 8pm. Morgans'' Coffee and Tea, $5, 642-4949.