Thursday, November 30, 2000
what''s up, chuck?
Tommy Castro, one of the biggest names in contemporary Bay Area blues, makes his debut at Sly McFly''s this weekend. Although this marks Castro''s first time at the Cannery Row nightclub, he should be well known to Monterey Bay bluesers, with previous appearances at the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay blues festivals, and frequent gigs at Moe''s Alley in Santa Cruz.
Castro''s out on tour right now, supporting his fourth Blind Pig release, Live at the Fillmore, an album that captures what Castro does best: light up a stage. Although Castro''s a good-really good-musician, he doesn''t add much of anything new to the blues lexicon. Even the first listen to any of Castro''s recordings will seem immediately comfortable and familiar, as if you''ve already heard it before. It''s a sound that''s maybe closest to Delbert McClinton''s, only slightly more relaxed-approaching Elvin Bishop.
It''s music that''s like your favorite pair of frayed pajamas-you wouldn''t wear ''em in front of company, but they''re what you put on anytime you want to be comfortable.
It''s the kind of sound that works well for a performance band like Castro''s: Drop them onto a stage anywhere and they''ll get an immediate audience response. The core of Castro''s band (bass player Randy McDonald and sax man Keith Crossan) has been together for about a decade now and, in earlier years, won numerous Bay Area awards as a club band. More recently, the band has begun to find international recognition as an opener for people like Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker and Etta James.
Tommy Castro, Saturday, 9pm. Sly McFly''s, 649-8050.
Pianist Jessica Williams, a fairly regular visitor to the Jazz and Blues Company, returns on Saturday.
Those in the know don''t need to be told about Williams'' impressive improvisational abilities. For those who are new to her music, let the awards speak for themselves: A Guggenheim Fellowship, a couple of NEA grants, and a Rockefeller "Meet the Composer Grant" in the last dozen years.
Jessica Williams, Saturday, 7:30pm. Jazz and Blues Company, 624-6432.
If you want something a little smoother to settle your groove, you''ll find it on Saturday in Gonzales when vocalist Jeffrey Osborne delivers a concert.
Osborne''s been on the scene since the 1970s, first making his mark as the lead vocalist for the funky R&B group LTD. After leaving the group for a solo career in the early ''80s, Osborne continued to deliver songs like "Stay With Me Tonight," "You Should Be Mine" and "She''s on the Left" that made the R&B charts. The ''90s, however, weren''t so kind to Osborne: He released only one album-1997''s Something Warm for Christmas-between ''88 and this year''s That''s For Sure.
Set in the Barrel Room at the Riverland Vineyards, this should be a warm, intimate evening with the smooth crooner.
Jeffrey Osborne, Saturday, 6 and 9pm. Riverland Vineyards, 850 South Alta, Gonzales. $95/general; $125/reserved. 649-1223.