There are cats who can sing and play the Bayou and the blues…and then there is Chicago born & Iowa raised Catfish Keith.
Upon meeting him before a recent show (January 28, 2017) in Lafayette, California, he comes across like a regular guy. Nice, easy going. It’s when he hits the stage that the power of his voice and awe inspiring guitar work power through…like a musical tornado that knocks you on yer ass. And you’re glad to have ignored the storm warning. Continue reading
I’m lucky to live in Silicon Valley, there are several venues that play live jazz pretty often. One of the newest is Cafe Pinkhouse in Saratoga, Calif. The place holds maybe 50-60 people, all facing an oddly shaped stage that sort of measures 25 feet by 10 feet. In fact, the whole room is oddly shaped to begin with. There’s a piano squeezed into the front corner. Continue reading
Mark Inouye is the best kept secret in jazz in the San Francisco Bay Area. Heck, maybe the world.
“I only play jazz once a year, and tonight is it!” he said to me. “Tonight” was a concert to raise funds for the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah. Topaz is the site where Inouye’s father, Takara, was incarcerated during World War II. Long story short is that his efforts to learn more about his father’s journey led him to play before a packed house at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco on July 10.
The Conservatory of Music…hmm. Doesn’t sound like a jazz club, and that’s because it’s not. It’s where you would hear symphonic music. “Classical music” you might say. But not jazz. Inouye is one of the few musicians who can do both, and both are spectacular. He occupies the first trumpet chair for the San Francisco Symphony and he has been cited as among the world’s best at his craft. Continue reading
When I heard from my sister that Paul McCartney was coming to Fresno, California, I thought it must be a mistake. Why would the former Beatle come to a medium sized town, known mostly for agriculture, in the middle of California? It’s not Los Angeles, it’s not San Francisco. It’s not Silicon Valley.
Fortunately, a friend who is a concert promoter got us three tickets, at the face value price of $250. It’s a lot of money, but it would be the first, and very likely last time I would get to see a musician from the world’s most famous rock band play live. We had great seats, about 12 rows back, then 10 rows up the left side.
Might be the best rock concert I’ve ever seen. Mostly because he played so many iconic songs that I never thought I’d hear live by a Beatle. Never thought I’d see any Beatle, ever. Continue reading
Charlie Parker. Dizzy Gillespie. Art Blakey. If you’re a fan of bebop jazz, you know those names. I’m way too young to have heard beboppers play live back in the late 40s and into the 50s, but several nights ago, I came awfully close at the Cafe Stritch in San Jose, California.
That’s exactly what drummer Akira Tana’s quintet did for me. Tana’s band freakin’ bbq’d the joint, practically burning it down to the ground. Reminded me of why I listen to jazz in the first place. Continue reading