- PHOTO BY JOHANN SAUTY
- ACE OF BASS : The gorgeous and talented composer, bassist, and vocalist Esperanza Spalding plays Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre on Oct. 8, the first of three Cal Poly Arts-sponsored jazz concerts this weekend.
Spalding released her debut in 2008, which spent 70 weeks on Billboard’s Jazz Charts and led to magazine covers, fashion ad campaigns, two White House appearances, and an invitation from President Obama to perform at the Nobel Prize Ceremony. Her sophomore release is even more remarkable.
It’s impossible to classify Spalding’s music as jazz, as it employs elements of classical, folk, hip-hop, and world music. She delivers one surprise after another, blending Brazilian sounds with scat singing, delivering funky soul while singing in English, Portuguese, or Spanish.
“So much of my early musical experience was spent playing chamber music on the violin, and it’s a form of music that I’ve always loved,” Spalding said in press materials. “I was very inspired by a lot of classical music, and chamber music in particular. I’m intrigued by the concept of intimate works that can be played and experienced among friends in an intimate setting.”
You can see this talented and beautiful performer with her six-piece chamber ensemble at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre as part of Cal Poly Arts’ three-concert Jazz Masters Festival. Tickets for the Spalding concert cost $36 for general admission or $29 for students. Call 756-2787.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m., jazz pianist patriarch Ellis Marsalis will perform intimate sets on the Spanos stage, backed by drums, bass, and New Orleans vocalist Johynaye Kendrick, who trained at the Thelonious Monk Institute. Marsalis, in addition to being the patriarch of a talented jazz family, is considered a modern-jazz innovator. In New Orleans during the mid-’50s, his renowned collective American Jazz Quintet broke new ground. Tickets for the Marsalis concert are $36 general admission or $29 for students. Call 756-2787.
Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m. in the Christopher Cohan Center, the “new first lady of Jazz” Diane Schuur performs with the San Luis Obispo Symphony for an afternoon of jazz standards and contemporary tunes. A two-time Grammy-winning “Best Jazz Vocalist,” she was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1979 and has been performing before sold-out crowds ever since, including two engagements at the White House. Student and general admission tickets for Diane Schuur with the SLO Symphony range from $24 to $54. Call 756-2787.
The weekend also includes a special lecture and panel discussion titled “Jazz in the 21st Century: Where are We Going?” that features Schuur and Marsalis engaging in a frank discussion about the state of this uniquely American art form and its future. The discussion will be moderated by Cal Poly music faculty member Paul Rinzler, and the event is free and open to the public from 2 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, in Phillips Lecture Hall at the Performing Arts Center.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DIRTY HEADS
- GOT DIRT? : The Dirty Heads return to SLO Brew on Oct. 10.
The newly rechristened SLO Brew keeps delivering the goods, as it will starting Friday, Oct. 8, when reggae-metal-punk act The Expendables returns to the club (7 p.m.; all ages; $20). This Santa Cruz act will light a fire under your ass.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, check out the final tour of indie pop act Hazel and Vine (7 p.m.; all ages; $6 presale or $8 at the door), with Nothing Ever Stays opening. Sacramento-based Hazel and Vine swear this is the end.
Hip-hop and reggae stars The Dirty Heads return on Sunday, Oct. 10 (7 p.m.; all ages; $16 presale or $18 at the door), with Pacific Dub opening. Orange County-based Dirty Heads deliver positive sounds that have been garnering increasing legions of fans.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, experience the hardcore punk of Street Dogs (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale or $15 at the door), with Devil’s Brigade featuring Matt Freeman of Rancid. Pump your fists!
Award-winning songwriter Ted Waterhouse (Viper Six, Howlie Playboys, BlueSouls) is hosting another installation of Big Variety Night at Linnaea’s Café on Sunday, Oct. 10, and it’s going to be a humdinger!
- PHOTO BY BRITTANY APP
- JADE AND JODY’S JOYRIDE : Jade Jackson and Jody Mulgrew are two of about a dozen performers who will grace the Linnaea’s Café stage on Oct. 10 during Ted Waterhouse’s Big Variety Night.
Holy guacamole, Batman, that’s a whole lotta music for no money! The event runs from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
More music …
NYC folk rocker Laura Meyer rolls through the Steynberg Gallery on Thursday, Oct. 7 (8 p.m.; all ages; $5 at the door), in support of her forthcoming album Been Here Before, which is due out on Nov. 11. It’s her follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Miles From Nowhere, a travelogue of road tunes. The new record was developed during a 30,000-mile, 100-plus-show adventure. The award-winning songwriter has been honored by prestigious songwriting competitions including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest (2007-2010), the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (2008-2010), and the Great Waters Music Festival, where her song “Atlantis” won 2008’s song contest.
New York native Clarissa Spiller plays an 8 p.m. show in the Frog and Peach on Thursday, Oct. 7, performing folk rock with “nontraditional harmonies and funky grooves.” She’s the perfect nightcap to Farmers Market.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF JOEY FIVE & DIMES
- WATCH HIM BLOW : The Blowdown Hoedown will blow the roof off the SLO Down Pub on Oct. 8 when harp masters, like Joey Five & Dimes, perform.
Beach Boy, Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer, and Big Sur resident Al Jardine plays the Henry Miller Library on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in what’s being billed as his first “local” show ever! The concert celebrates the release of his new CD, A Postcard from California, which featured special guests including Neil Young, Brian Wilson, and David Crosby. Will any of these legends also be part of Al’s “surprise” band? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, this promises to be an incredible evening in magical Big Sur. Tickets are $35 and available by calling (831) 667-2574, or online at aljardine.eventbrite.com/?ref=ebtn.
SLOfolks hosts the return of Australian singer-songwriter Anne McCue during two shows: a solo performance at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, at Coalesce Bookstore ($20; call 772-2880); and with her band The Wild Haints at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Castoro Cellars ($20; call 238-0725). McCue is an incredible guitarist—she was invited to play at the Jimi Hendrix Tribute Concert at the Adelaide Guitar Festival alongside world-renowned guitarists Vernon Reid and John Hammond—with a stunning alto voice. She was recently included—along with Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Patty Griffin, and other iconic artists—in the collection 4 Decades of Folk Rock.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE BAUMGARTEN
- RIDE THE RAILS : Dave Baumgarten will perform railroad and hobo songs during three concerts hosted by the Central Coast Railroad Festival Oct. 8 to 10.
Come out to Sustenance Cooking Studio (2033 Santa Barbara St., SLO) on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 10 p.m. for Cents for Cece, a fundraising concert for Cece Green, who recently returned from the City of Hope Medical Center after being diagnosed with colon cancer for the second time. “Our hopes are to bring together friends, family, and the community in a celebration to raise funds for Cece’s medical expenses,” explained Cece’s niece and event organizer Molly Hemler. The $20 tickets include music by Vance of Resination and Nightly Irie, Ryan Johnson of Tropo, Matthius and The Cry, Matt Suarez, Anthony Rozelli, DJ MK Ultra, and possibly a couple more, plus dinner provided by Glass Onion Catering. There will also be a raffle for items including dinner for seven at Wolfgang Puck, a sculpture from Steynberg Gallery, and much more. Buy presale tickets on facebook.com/centsforcece or by calling Eric Johnson at 704-3174 or Molly Hemler at 903-2011. Get out there and help Cece get back on her feet!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF FORHORN TRIO
- HARDCORE BLUEGRASS : Portland’s Foghorn Trio will deliver the perfect old time music for the Red Barn Concert Series on Oct. 9.
New gal on the block Jenn Haase is teaming up with her pal Without the Blonde on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Clubhouse. “I’m a transplanted L.A. girl to the SLO beach cities,” Jenn said. “Without the Blonde will be on a road trip! She’s an alt-rock folk chanteuse with songs that speak of falling down, getting up, the beauty of each new horizon, and what is found along the way.”
Head up to Big Sur on Saturday, Oct. 9, for the return of Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us at Fernwood at 9 p.m. “Hotbox Harry was a warm and gentle hobo-like figure who taught us wonderful country songs of love and loss,” according to organizers. “He was a warm, roly-poly kind of guy. He wore suspenders, hopped trains, and beat Woody Guthrie in a card game in 1943. He has a special place in our hearts. As a tribute to him, we started a band and called it Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us. This band, consisting of Big Sur luminaries and East Coast folks, covers the tunes that Hotbox Harry taught us: tunes by Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Loretta Lynn, Elvis, Don Gibson, Buck Owens, George Jones, Bob Dylan, and more!” This show is absolutely free!
The Ranch in San Miguel will host a concert with four-time Grammy nominee Joe Nichols on Saturday, Oct. 9. Originally a native of Arkansas, Joe released his first album in 2002: Man with a Memory. In 2007, he made the “best of” list with his album titled Real Things from the NY Times, the Miami Herald, and CMT.com. He’s also had several No. 1 hits, including “The Impossible” and “Broken Heartsville.” His current album, Old Things New, already had top 10 hits with “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Come Off” and “What’s a Guy Gotta Do.” Finally, he’s been awarded CMT’s “Breakthrough Video of the Year,” CMA’s Horizon Award, and the Academy of Music’s “Top Male Vocalist Of The Year.” Buy tickets for this 21-and-older concert online at ticketbiscuit.com, or call 467-5047.
Sharing the Dream is having its sixth annual October Fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 10, from noon to 4 p.m. at 1615 Tiffany Ranch Road. Sharing the Dream is raising money for its 16th annual concert and festival honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be held in January 2011. The concert (food, wine, and beer will be available at an additional cost) features Grammy-winner Louie Ortega, New Times Music Award-winner Al “Shival” Redwine, Tim Jackson, and Michael LoveGene. The event is being hosted in conjunction with GrassRoots II, Inc. Tickets cost $20 and include lunch, or provide five non-perishable food items to Grassroots II and get a ticket for $15. Buy tickets at GrassRoots II, Inc. (11545 Los Osos Valley Road, SLO) or call 544-2333.
On Sunday, Oct. 10, the Hamlet’s Famous Jazz Artist Series welcomes one of the true legends of jazz guitar, Mundell Lowe. The 88-year-old Lowe’s career has spanned more than six decades and included turns with luminaries such as Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn to name a few. Bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Paul Kreibich will back Lowe, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will sit in as well. There’s a 4 p.m. show for $15, a 7:15 p.m. show for $12, or see both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.
Santa Maria’s The Prestige, a band that made the SLO & Dysfunctional Vol. 6 compilation, is invading SLO County on Sunday, Oct. 10, with an appearance at the Frog and Peach at 10 p.m. “We were also the main support for a very talented group of guys, TAUK from NY, at Downtown Brew last month,” said the band, who you can expect to see a lot more of.
Michael Miller plays Monday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. in the Steynberg Gallery to promote his newest album, I Made You Up, which “has guest appearances from Pete Yorn, Tracy Bonham, Amy Correia, and features my band of members who also play with Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Beck, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Tom Waits, Sting, Fiona Apple, The Pretenders, Son Volt, Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, and The Eels,” said Miller, who described the recording process as “effortless,” thanks to the group of elite luminaries involved. “They’re mostly old friends who all know each other and also happen to be some of the most talented players in L.A. I feel remarkably fortunate to have had them on this project.” The all-ages, $10 show also features opening act Cydney Robinson.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF NATALY LOLA
- CHANTEUSE : Central Coast’s own Nataly Lola will headline Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase at the Steynberg Gallery on Oct. 12.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
- THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! : You want showmanship? Look no further than Drumline Live, which will light up Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on Oct. 12.
Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.