X Japan at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., on September 28, 2010. Photos by Raymond Ahner.
The Jimmy Lyons era of big-band programming is over at Monterey Jazz Fest. So is all the straight-ahead stuff that went with it. For those who associate the word “jazz” with Paul Chambers laying a cool bass ostinato over Jimmy Cobbs’ brushstrokes, this year’s fest would have been an awakening of sorts. The artists featured on Saturday’s lineup were part of that tradition, but conversant in many others — blues, hip-hop, world music, gospel, even noise. This year’s festival included acts like The Nice Guy Trio, Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & Switch, Billy Childs with the Kronos Quartet, and Brass, Bows & Beats Hip-Hop Symphony. For a 53-year-old institution, it was adventurous.
Twenty-four-year-old Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews was clearly this year’s big, emergent star. The kid can play just about any brass instrument he gets his hands on. During his set at Monterey, he switched from trombone to trumpet, sang, led a seven-piece band, quoted James Brown, Juvenile, Black Eyed Peas, and Sinatra, clapped a second line rhythm, and led rousing versions of the old standbys: “When The Saints Go Marching In” and “Down By The Riverside.” His group, Orleans Avenue, bills itself as a Big Easy-style brass band, but it poaches liberally from other regions — for some songs, the drummer played a West Coast backbeat. Shorty ably made himself a festival sex symbol. In the program guide, he posed in a wifebeater, dark sunglasses, and an expression that translated: “Whatever the proposition is, you know, I can hang.”
A.R. Rahman’s “Jai Ho: The Journey Home World Tour” concert last weekend at the Oracle Arena clearly broadcast Rahman’s mission: to create music that combines his Indian heritage with inspirations from around the world, including rap, reggae, hip-hop, Latin, and even Michael Jackson.
Rahman is epically well-known in the Indian community. He has composed for Bollywood mega-hit after mega-hit, from Lagaan to Rang de Basanti, Taal to Guru. Even mainstream America can probably hum along with Rahman’s music to Slumdog Millionaire, for which he won two Academy Awards, including an Oscar for best song for "Jai Ho." Time Magazine dubbed Rahman the “Mozart of Madras” and listed him in “The Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People” in 2009.
Closing his performance at Yoshi's Oakland on Tuesday night, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire shared one gripe about life as a celebrated wunderkind of the jazz scene with his hometown crowd. "People shouldn't be shocked when I tell them I'm from Oakland."
It was one of several moments throughout the evening that gave the buttoned-up club the intimate feeling of a homecoming. Uncles, teachers, church members, and old Berkeley High friends helped fill every seat for the 28-year-old's first Bay Area show since signing with Blue Note Records in June. They gave an enthusiastic applause when he said it's good to be home, volunteered details on the relationship status of drummer and fellow Berkeley High alumnus Justin Brown (single), and inspired confessions about song titles ("Tear-Stained Suicide Manifesto," for instance? "Let me explain," Akinmusire said. "It's not about me").
Public memorials will be held in December or January for folklorist and leftist intellectual Irwin Silber who died at age 84 of complications due to Alzheimer’s last Wednesday in Oakland, said his wife, singer Barbara Dane.
Obituaries and eulogies have been coming in from The New York Times, the People’s World, and radical websites for Silber who, along with Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax, and others, founded the seminal folk music magazine Sing Out! sixty years ago. Silber served as its editor for the first sixty years.
Country Joe McDonald called the magazine “a kind of encyclopedia of that particular time.”
“You can’t look back at a certain part of that progressive folk rock stuff,” said McDonald, whom Silber interviewed for Sing Out! in the late Sixties, “without encountering something that Irwin had a hand in.”
Silber and Dane moved from New York to Oakland about thirty years ago, where he became involved in a Marxist theoretical journal and, Dane said, wrote until a few years ago. His books include Press Box Red, a biography of the sports editor of The Daily Worker, Socialism: What Went Wrong, several folk song collections, and a patient’s guide to knee surgery.
Still waiting to get more details, but we've confirmed that a new restaurant/bar/live music venue will open in downtown Oakland sometime in the near future. The venue, located at 347 14th Street, will be called Vitus after the the "patron saint of entertainers and Bohemia," according to owner Damon Gallagher of local band Damon & the Heathens. "We are going have a full restaurant and bar, plus intimate venue. We will serve food late-night, which has been absent from Oakland for some time," wrote Gallagher in an e-mail. The decor will look like "an old art deco jazz club with new touches." As for the type of music booked, Gallagher said it will be "intimate and eclectic." More details as they become available.
All shows at 21 Grand this month have been moved or canceled due to issues with the City of Oakland, according to an e-mail from local promoter Club Sandwich. No further details about the cancellations were offered, and a message left at the venue was not returned.
Three of Club Sandwiches' shows originally scheduled for this month have relocated. The locations after the jump...
AFI live at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., on September 4, 2010. Photos by Hali McGrath.
Machine Head's Rob Flynn lost gear and other valuables yesterday when his Martinez home was broken into. The guitarist/vocalist was not home when robbers broke into his residence yesterday afternoon and stole three guitars, including one from Pantera's Dimebag Darrell and the one that Flynn used to record the band's first album, Burn My Eyes. Flynn is offering a cash reward for the two guitars. The full press release after the jump...