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All that jazz!

Celebrate this unique American art form at Cal Poly

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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. - PHOTO BY JOHANN SAUTY
  • 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.
From the first track on Chamber Music Society, the new album by Esperanza Spalding, I knew I was listening to something special. “Little Fly” sets a poem by William Blake to a sparse but stirring composition by the talented classical bassist with a lush, delicious voice.

 

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.

GOT DIRT? :  The Dirty Heads return to SLO Brew on Oct. 10. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DIRTY HEADS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DIRTY HEADS
  • GOT DIRT? : The Dirty Heads return to SLO Brew on Oct. 10.
SLO and steady

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!

Go BIG!

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!

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. - PHOTO BY BRITTANY APP
  • 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.
“As you may or may not know, I’ve hosted the occasional and semi-regular Big Variety Night show for some 15 years now at Linnaea’s Café,” said Ted. “It’s set up as a sort of invitational open mic variety showcase, and it’s long been a meeting spot for the SLO acoustic music community. We’ve had some amazing talent over the years, including the likes of Inga Swearingen, who played some of her earliest performances at BVN some years back, and the shows have always attracted a high caliber of singers, players, and writers, including the most of us who, unlike Inga, continue to labor in relative obscurity. Coming up next Sunday, our lineup will be particularly stellar with Jody Mulgrew, Jade Jackson, and Erin Inglish all performing together and separately; Bob and Wendy, Tim Jackson, Charles Duncan, the string band trio Wildwood, Bob Duffy (a.k.a. J Street Slim), Andrew Beacock, and my own award-winning self Ted Waterhouse. Other acts will very likely be added at the last minute. It’s always a blast. There’s never a cover.”

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.

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. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOEY FIVE & DIMES
  • 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.
Prepare yourself for the wildest night of harmonica-driven blues ever when the Blowdown Hoedown blows the roof off the SLO Down Pub on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. ($5 at the door). Five local mouth harp masters—Jeff “The Professor” Priolo, Chuck “Wheeler” Rorabaugh, Kevin “Aces” McCracken, “Radio” Ray Wells, and Joey Five & Dimes—will deliver harmonica classics penned by the blues legends of the instrument. There’ll also be guest appearances by “Burnin’” James Scoolis, Screaming Jimmy, plus an all-star backing band. Lenny Blue of The Otter Guys will act as celebrity emcee. Get ready to be blown away!

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.

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. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE BAUMGARTEN
  • 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.
You can ride the rails without ever leaving your seat when Dave Baumgarten performs railroad and hobo songs at three concerts during the Central Coast Railroad Festival. See him on Friday, Oct. 8, in Paso Robles on the steps of the Carnegie Library at 6 p.m. for “Big Rock Candy Mountain—Songs & Stories of the Railroad Hobos.” The event also features our own local treasure trove of railroad songs, Don Lampson. Bring a chair or blanket for this one, folks. On Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the SLO Library, experience “Circle of Railroad Songs” hosted by Steve Key and featuring Baumgarten and Sidney Willson Young. This family concert features railroad tunes and traditional rail-era folksongs from Woody Guthrie and others. Then, on Sunday, Oct. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Arroyo Grande’s Rotary Bandstand in Heritage Square Park, hear a “Concert of Railroad Music” featuring the San Luis Obispo County Band, Baumgarten, Willson Young, and various folk and bluegrass musicians. Steve Key will act as Master of Ceremonies. Bring a chair or a blanket and a thirst for adventure.

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!

HARDCORE BLUEGRASS :  Portland’s Foghorn Trio will deliver the perfect old time music for the Red Barn Concert Series on Oct. 9. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FORHORN TRIO
  • 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.
Old-time Americana music is the perfect fit for the Red Barn Concert Series in Los Osos, an event overflowing with community spirit. Bluegrass, swing, Celtic, blues, and other forms of acoustic roots music just seem to go with the 6 p.m. potluck supper and BYOB charm of this long-running and popular series, and Portland’s Foghorn Trio will be the perfect old timey band when they play on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. ($10 at the door). Expect hardcore bluegrass played with swagger by Caleb Klauder, Stephen “Sammy” Lind, and Nadine Landry. Caleb and Sammy trade off on vocals, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. Nadine switches between upright bass and guitar, bringing in elements of Cajun music by drawing on her French Acadian roots.

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.

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 NATALY LOLA
  • 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.
On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Central Coast’s own Nataly Lola will headline Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase at the Steynberg Gallery. Lola, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter, displays varied influences: the Bakersfield-style country of “Daddy’s Shotgun” and a nod to Brazilian vocalist Astrud Gilberto in “Meet Me at Midnight.” Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, The Beatles, and Tom Petty are her musical heroes, but she considers herself a true original. The showcase runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., costs $5, and includes up to eight other performers.

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. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
  • 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.
You want showmanship? Look no further than Drumline Live, an explosive presentation of brass, drums, and dance that will light up Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. This showdown of “rhythm, speed, precision, and pulsating force” will dazzle with “riveting choreography and incredible feats of athleticism.” Imagine Earth, Wind, and Fire or Tower of Power played by incredible synchronized dancers. Drawing from the tradition of Southern black colleges and their “show style marching band,” this 39-member outfit will thrill and amaze—guaranteed! Tickets for students and adults range from $16 to $38; call 756-2787.

Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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