Monday, August 22, 2005

New Jam session at Pearl's

BJ Papa host's the Sunday night jam session at Pearl's in San Franciso that started in July. This article in the Chronicle's Pink section Datebook talks about the sessions and about the house band leader on the piano, BJ Papa.'s fair to say that the San Francisco jazz scene will have regained an important spirit if the Pearl's session takes hold in North Beach. Given the start it's made, it may well be on the right track.

On a recent Sunday night, trumpeter Mike Olmos, a brassy, expansive soloist and one of the city's busiest horn men, is trading shining, charged phrases with fellow trumpeter Henry Hung on a swinging rendition of "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise." Hung, an audacious musician himself, is a member of the house band, which on this night also includes saxophonist Marcus Stephens, bassist Attila Medveczky and drummer Jamal Ramirez.

BJ PAPA BAND performs at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Sundays at Jazz at Pearl’s, 256
Columbus Ave., San Francisco. $5. (415) 291-8255.


This article in today's San Francisco Chronicle's Pink section talks about the rich Brazilian music scene in the bay area. It lists bay area clubs that support the music, local musicians and upcoming concerts.

In February 2006, Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil is slated to return to UC Berkeley at the invitation of the Center for Latin American Studies. Gil is expected to further explore the possibility of designating the Bay Area as a "Point of Culture."

Brazilian culture, that is. Why not? Today the sounds of Brazil are a vibrant part of the nightclub mosaic of San Francisco...

While the scene for Brazilian music is not as big as it is for salsa, it holds its own. Over the last half of the 20th century, it has integrated into our artistic fabric and kept growing. Now, thanks to a rich migration of Brazilian artists, this region is seen as a leader deserving of Point of Culture status. Gil has designated 260 in Brazil, with Paris the only international location officially announced so far.

California Brazil Summer Camp

Get ready for the 8th annual California Brazil Camp, a full immersion Brazilian music and dance experience in the redwoods of Northern California. We offer classes in a variety of styles, as well as special performances and impromptu jams, all in a beautiful natural setting. We've made an exciting change to this year's camp by adding a second session, so please join us for an energized week (or two!) of fun and learning that can't be beat!
The California Brazil Summer Camp started this Sunday, runs for 2 weeks and takes place near Guerneville in Cazadero, California.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Disney's Pink Elephants a la Sun Ra

Not bay area but here is the trippy pink elephant scene from Disney's Dumbo with Sun Ra's version of the music. This is a great clip.

View the 17MB video here.

Found on BoingBoing.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival

The Jazzschool in conjunction with the Downtown Berkeley Association and UC Berkeley Extension present the DOWNTOWN BERKELEY JAZZ FESTIVAL’05 "A Celebration of Latin Jazz!" Thursday - Sunday, August 18-21, 2005

The Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival (DBJF) is a 4-day summer music festival featuring jazz and related styles of music from throughout the world. Music and other performing arts as well as correlated literary, fine, visual and culinary arts will be featured both outdoor and indoor at various venues throughout the city, promoting Berkeley's unique businesses and contributing to creating a more vibrant Downtown. The festival's focus will change annually. The DBJF '05 - "A Celebration of Latin Jazz", celebrates Afro-Caribbean (Cuban and Puerto Rican) and Brazilian music and culture. The focus of DBJF '06 may be the "Hard Bop and its Children", for example.

Healdsburg Guitar Festival 2005

This acoustic guitar festival features hundreds of guitars, mini concerts and dozens of workshops that feature jazz to flat pickin to making a living in the music business to the Zen of American Primitive Guitar.

The Healdsburg Guitar Festival is the world's premier exposition of hand made acoustic guitars. Over 130 of the world's finest luthiers will be on hand to show, sell and talk about their magnificent creations. The presence of these guitar builders showing their finest work and sharing their techniques attracts the best performers, all also sharing their skill and talent by teaching a workshop for other guitarists.

The Healdsburg Guitar Festival is located at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts just off of Hwy. 101 between Healdsburg and Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, California.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Trio - Stanley Clarke, Bela Fleck, Jean-Luc Ponty

I am sure this show will be unique and inspiring and I had intentions of going, but changed my mind after visiting the ticket web site. Tickets are $50, $45 and $35, I work and can afford it. The musicians deserve it and the winery is quite nice but there is more. We will just make the show due to our jobs so I didn't want the $35 General seating tickets. When deciding between $45 and $50, what is $5? It turns out the only $45 tickets are in the last row of the bleachers anyway. Good $50 seats were still available so I pick a couple of those. Then a word verification page comes up that is nearly impossible to read. As the process goes on I find that there is an additional $10.20 per ticket "Convenience" charge and an additional $2.50 just for the privilege of printing the ticket myself ($20 to have them mailed.) Add in another $10 for parking and for 2 people, I am approaching $135 and I haven't eaten yet.

They have an interesting deal for a couple of special boxes right over the stage that seat 12 people, include a dinner and wine and go for $2000. I figure that that is about $80 per person and includes a dinner! Sounds good but would be tough to organize. Maybe I can get the company to spring for a team building event party.

Anyway, I think about it for a day and now the tickets are sold out, kind of a win/lose situation. I keep the money but miss the show. Oh well, I did get to see Bela close up and cheap at Stanford a few years ago and free at Stern Grove (another good place to see free jazz) and I got to see Stanley Clarke free at Yoshi's in the guest list booth when John played with him. That was a great show.

Not to be a complete curmudgeon, let's compare any jazz show with the Rolling Stones you come to SBC Park November 15th with tickets starting at $64 for the furthest bleachers to $454 for down on the field. Even the $100 seats are still in the bleachers and the best tickets available are in the 2nd deck for $180 plus an $18 per ticket "Convenience" charge which I think actually goes to TicketMaster. Most jazz concerts I have been to cost less then the convenience charge for the Stone's show. I won't be seeing them either.

Jazz musicians really have a lot to be proud of when you consider the work, dedication and love they put into their craft compared to the living they can eke out. My hat is off and my wallet is open.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Rock Balancing Art of Bill Dan

You may have seen Bill Dan at and around Crissy Field performing his improvisational art, balanced rock sculpture. File this under the "How does he do this?" department. I found this site in a round about way via a link on BoingBoing.

This site is dedicated in specific to the work of San Francisco, California balanced rock sculptor Bill Dan and to the art, discipline and craft of rock balancing in general. It includes images of Bill's balanced stones and rocks, links to other rock balancers and examples of their work, with information about naturally balancing rocks and world-wide stone balancing and rock stacking traditions.

JazzListening and Jazz: Live Shows

JazzListening is a refreshing and to the point first listen jazz album review blog. The sister site, Jazz: Live Shows are similar short reviews of jazz concerts. The blogger, "Jazz Study" is based in the San Francisco bay area. Nice reading. Keep up the good work.

Ray Vega

Received this letter from pianist Murray Low who is playing with Ray Vega this week.

Dear friends of John Worley,

World-renown trumpeter Ray Vega will be appearing here on the West Coast this weekend for three very special appearances. Ray is perhaps most famous for
being the lead trumpter for the Tito Puente Band for several years through the 90's and 2000, as well as with Ray Baretto and Mongo Santamaria. He is a
consummate musician in both the Jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa idioms, and like John, is one of the rare musicians who can play both lead and jazz trumpet at
the highest level.

South Bay residents should check out the performance at Club Elite/Boas in Cupertino on Saturday 9/13 starting at 8:30. This is a chance to hear him in an up-close intimate environment John Worley is expected to show up and play, and you'll get a chance to see a rare collaboration between the two.

Up further north, check him out at @17th in Oakland Friday night for a short set starting at 7 PM. It's free ... the price is right. Website is

Finally, we're also appearing free at the San Jose Jazz Festival on Sunday on the Latin State at 7 PM. However, we're playing opposite Poncho Sanchez on the Main Stage (6 PM) so if you're catching that, come check us out at the end of his set, or better yet, come to Boas where you can see him up close.

Ray's quintet West consists of David Belove/Steve Herrera on bass, Paul Van Wageningen on Drums, Mike Spiro on congas and myself on piano.

For more information on Ray go to his website at

Hope to see you there. Feel free to contact me for more info.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tom Politzer with Tower of Power

The bay area's Tom Politzer joined Tower of Power as lead tenor sax in 2002. The band plays next Tuesday and Wednesday, August 16 and 17 at the San Mateo County Fair.

Tom has done it all, from Chain of Fools to Muzak and a lot in between. I don't care what Lori says about him, he is one kick ass horn player.

Burlingame art and Jazz Festival

It's Burlingame's turn for their summer festival in the historic downtown area, Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14. The web site does not list the musicians, only that they have light jazz, dixieland and swing. Kick back, stay close to home and support the mid peninsula arts.

Singing Saws

Many of the world's best contemporary saw players -- they're called sawyers, really -- will convene next weekend at Roaring Camp in Felton (Santa Cruz County) for the Saw Players Picnic & Music Festival, the 27th such event. Read about it in here from the San Francisco Chronicle's Pink Section.

Once you have seen this, you cannot unsee it! I saw it, last year. We had never been to Roaring Camp and we wanted to look at some property in Felton. I happened to see this annual event happening and next thing I know, we are there. We got to see virtuoso Hajime Sakita (pictured) play and were truly amazed. Now imagine the grand finale, over 30 sawyers on stage, ages 9 to 90. I don't know what to say except that I will never forget it.

San Jose Jazz Festival

The San Jose Jazz Festival starts this Thursday with it's opening night gala and private parties. Year after year, event for event this is truly the biggest weekend jazz festival in the immediate bay area. They showcase local talent like no other, bring in the big names and it is free. I can't remember the last time I was able to get near the main stage, but there are many other themed stages with constant and joyous music and many arts and crafts in between.

Terence Blanchard Sextet

Terence Blanchard swings through town again, this time at Yoshi's in Oakland, Thursday through Sunday. Here is a chance to see these cats up close. I wrote about how Terence showcases his band members last March. (Read it here) They really are a remarkable group of musicians, alone and together. This show should be well worth your time.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Back on the job, I think.

Now that the Tour de France is over and the retaining wall / garden / brick patio that we have been building all summer is complete, I hope to be blogging a more regular site.

In case you happend to see the article about John Worley in Friday's San Jose Murky News, they used a picture that I took! It always feels good.

There is a lot happening this week and this month, from the San Jose Jazz Festival to Terence Blanchard at Yoshi's and more. I'll be on it tomorrow!