April 18, 2011
NOW EAR THIS: The 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival—you may have heard of it—is announcing its customary star-studded lineup for the event, which takes place Sept. 16-18.
This year’s luminaries include saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins, perhaps the last living god of his era (Sunday, Sept. 18, Arena); MJF Artist-In-Residence (and Berkeley High graduate) Joshua Redman, who was recently lending his services to the Next Generation festival (Sept. 18, Arena); Geri Allen, who will be performing her commissioned piece “The Dazzler," a jazz tap tribute to Sammy Davis, (Saturday, Sept. 17); and other musicians as diverse as India Arie, Steve Coleman and Herbie Hancock.
The Saturday, Sept. 17 Arena lineup includes a sure-to-be funky session, “An Afternoon in Treme: The Musical Legacy of New Orleans," featuring Ian Neville’s Dumpstahunk, with special guest Greg Errico, the Soul Rebels, Kermit Ruffins and Glen David Andrews with guest MC Wendell Pierce from the HBO series “Treme."
Not to be outdone, there will also be a “Soulsville" tribute to Memphis’ famed Stax Records by Huey Lewis and the News (who can be a lot more soulful than you might think) and performances by the Soul Rebels Brass Band.
Other treats include performances by famed Latin musicians including John Santos (who is justifiably steamed about the Grammy’s ludicrous decision to eliminate the Latin jazz category, which he has championed for years); Carmen Souza; Juan-Carlos Formell and Elio Villafranco and the Jass Syncopaters (Saturday, Sept. 17, Grounds.)
The inimitable Miles Davis will be paid homage with tributes to “Miles Ahead," “Porgy and Bess" and “Sketches of Spain" by the Miles Davis/Gil Evans Still Ahead Orchestra, featuring Terence Blanchard, Vincent Mendoza, Peter Erskine and Miles Evans. (Sunday, Sept. 18, Arena).
And the legacy of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo will be honored, in suitably lively style, by Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Allstar Band, featuring Terence Blanchard. (Friday, Sept. 16, Arena.) The great guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli’s quarter is also on the bill, featuring special guests Jessica Molaskey and John’s dad, Bucky Pizzarelli, in a program fittingly called “First Family of Cool."
The late, great Thelonious Monk will be remembered with a session on “Monk’s Dream: Fifty Years Fresh," by the Benny Green trio, with special guest Donald Harrison. (Sunday, Sept. 18, Grounds)
I’m leaving out others who deserve greater mention as well, including Showcase Artist Robert Glasper, who will be appearing with three different groups on each day of the Festival (busy guy); music business veteran Orrin Keepnews, who will speak at a panel; and a screening of the Clint Eastwood produced documentary: “Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way."
Check out the full lineup for yourself tomorrow at www.montereyjazzfestival.org. 925-275-9255.
There’s no room to do justice to all this great music—Rollins alone is worth a lifetime of joyous contemplation—but in tribute to Geri Allen’s prospective homage to Sammy Davis Jr., here’s a clip of Michael Jackson performing at a show honoring Davis in 1989 when Sammy (and Michael) were still alive:
SEASIDE STORY. On a much less fancy, but equally worthy, note, the good folks at the Otis Park Neighborhood Association and Sustainable Seaside put together an Earth Day Celebration at the newly gussied up park yesterday, including potluck dishes and music by Microtonic Harmonic (labor donated). Conflict of interest alert: I live in the neighborhood, and family members have been known to be involved with this effort. End of conflict of interest alert. It was a great way to spend an increasingly sunny Sunday. Other worthy groups, including Return of the Native, set up informational tables at the event. But the grub, and the good feeling, was worth it alone. And the park keeps looking better. Think globally, act locally.
SOUL ALIVE: And…if you’re looking to get ready for Easter, check out the Celtic /Americana sounds of Gypsy Soul at the Scheid Wineries Cannery Row Wine Lounge Friday, April 23 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25; www.brownpapertickets.com , 800- 838-3006. Or, if you’re looking for some other amazing Irish- American sounds, check out the amazing vocals of Aoife O’Donovan, who plays with the Boston-based band Crooked Still. You can hear her sounds for free, courtesy of this recent invention called the Internet, or order their new album, Some Strange Country, online at www.crookedstill.com. Life-changing.
And a happy Passover, too.