Visiting Santa Barbara
Iceland’s Sigur Rós, one of rock’s most enigmatic and singular bands, concluded their 14-day/eight city North American tour at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. The 30-year-old group’s newly released album ÁTTA, following a 10-year studio recording hiatus, concurred with the tour. Guitarist/vocalist Jón Þór Birgisson (Jónsi), bassist Georg Hólm, multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson and drummer Olafur Bjorn Olafsson were supported by the New York City-based 41-piece Wordless Music Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ames .....see page
Iceland’s Sigur Rós
North American tour at
Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre
Festival & Music Reviews…
by Christopher J Walker and Amanda Wheeler
Art Garfunkel, former Simon & Garfunkel member, performed at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts with guitarist/keyboardist Tab Laven supporting him. During the mid to late ‘60s S&G captured the sensitivity of college youths through mostly poetic ballads. Garfunkel’s son Arthur Jr.9, began the show sweetly singing Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M the title track of S&G’s debut album. Afterwards the senior Garfunkel proudly admitted, “He has the voice, but I have the hits.” His son later rendered classics “Smile” and “Amore” solely, and with him the Everly Brothers “Devoted to You” and vintage “Let It Be Me.”
Senior Garfunkel showcased writing skills through angelic ballads “Perfect Moment” and “All I Know,” along with his book What Is It All But Luminous (Notes From An Underground Man), published in 2017. However, the audience really came to hear S& G music, since their reuniting is extremely remote. Garfunkel obliged with vocally challenging “Scarborough Fair,” easy flowing “Homeward Bound,” passionately sung “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her,” lightly rocking “Sounds of Silence” and lyrical gem “Kathy’s Song” to receive a standing ovation. Notably missing from the concert was S&G’s most popular song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that recently marked its 50th anniversary.
Established in 1999 Nevada City, CA
The fun-loving drummer and former Beatle mentioned that his revolving group last performed there in 2019. COVID, and band members, and himself catching it twice prevented them from coming back. With that behind them, the tour Starr formed in 1989 was healthy and fully functioning. The performers included Colin Hay from Men At Work, Edgar Winter from The Edgar Winter Group, Steve Lukather from Toto, and Hamish Stuart from the Average White Band.
Starr started things off by getting into his pre-Beatles rockabilly roots with Carl Perkins “Matchbox” and then shifted to his fitting poppy “It Don’t Come Easy.” Due to contractual stipulations, the famous drummer/singer only performed Beatles songs that he wrote, co-wrote or weren’t written by them. That amounted to “What Goes On,” “Octopus's Garden,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” and of course “Yellow Submarine” being highlighted. Among Starr’s somewhat similar sounding post-Beatles songs were “I'm the Greatest,” “Back Off Boogaloo” and “Photograph” that drew thunderous crowd reactions.
The other tour members spotlighted their respective hits as Starr accompanied them on drums. Multi-instrumentalist/singer and informal emcee Winter nearly stole the show with hot rocking “Free Ride” and psychedelic instrumental “Frankenstein” featuring him playing keyboards and saxophone. Hay shined with Aussie rocking “(Man From) Down Under,” Who Can It Be Now?” and “Overkill.” Stuart with Winter helping on sax served his ever-popular funk hits “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut The Cake.”
Lukather rounded things out with lightly jazz fused tunes “Rosanna,” “Africa” and “Hold the Line.” Naturally, Starr saved “With a Little Help From My Friends,” along with former bandmate John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” for last. Those songs inspired the audience to sing along and give the band a rousing standing ovation. For more info go to: www.ringostarr.com and www.lagreektheatre.com.
British-born Graham Nash, Rock And Roll Hall of Famer, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Hollies co-founder, and former boyfriend of singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, performed at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre. After a standing ovation he cited, the venue, one of California’s oldest, just celebrated its 150-year anniversary. To celebrate the milestone his old friend David Crosby was scheduled to perform. After a rehearsal he went home to rest and never awakened.
In honor of Crosby, he dedicated the show to him and opened by playing their enthralling 1971 San Francisco choral recording of “Critical Mass.” It was followed by Nash’s “Wind on The Water” with supporting musicians Todd Caldwell-guitar/vocals/keyboards/co-producer and Shane Fontayne guitars/mandolin/co-producer. During the concert the troubadour alternated between his old bands and his solo songs. From the Hollies started in 1962 in England was a riveting version of “Bus Stop.” CSN&Y’s songs were more plentiful, and Nash first played “Marrakesh Express.” Regarding the War in Ukraine and supporting it were “Find the Cost of Freedom” and “Military Madness.” Somewhat related was optimistic “A Better Life” from his new record Now. Ballads “Lady of The Island,” and new “Love of Mine” featuring Nash playing harmonica were very romantic. Mitchell’s “A Case of You” also celebrated love and “Our House” written during their relationship was sentimental. Contrarily, classic “Love the One You're With” was not monogamous.
Breaking the folk/rock mode was the Beatles’ philosophical and mesmerizing “A Day in a Life.” Alternately, “4 + 20” focused on pain and suffering and received equally strong reactions. Also, inserted into the setlist was “Just a Song Before I Go” written for a bet and paid 40 years later, Neil Young’s Buffalo Springfield oriented “Country Girl" and Nash’s equally trippy “Cathedral.” For the encore, anthem “Teach Your Children” was a total singalong. For more info go: www.grahamnash.com and www.lobero.org
The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest....August 11 - 13, 2023
Initially, San Jose's Summer Festival was formidable competition to the long-established
Monterey Jazz Festival, which began in 1958, and the comparatively recent SF Jazz Festival
that started in 1983 as “Jazz in the City.” Significantly, since its inception over 30 years ago,
the annual San Jose gathering has come into its own and now is in a class by itself. It has
warmer weather than the other nearby festivals and is much broader in scope with an
appealing mixture of jazz and its variations, Latin music, R&B, funk, and homegrown music.
Downtown San Jose’s Plaza de César Chavez Park is the festival’s hub with eight stages all within close proximity. Among them are the Sobrato Organization Main Stage, Blues/Big Easy, Latin Tropical, SJMA Next Gen and the Tabard Theatre Swing Stage. This year over 100 different artists will perform with something for everyone, even those with little to no interest in jazz.
Mainstream Jazz lovers and more adventurous
aficionados will enjoy some familiar high caliber
musicians like the boundless The Bad Plus,
multi-Grammy-Winning soul/jazz vocalist
Gregory Porter, celebrated composer/arranger/
pianist Billy Childs, heavy weight session player/
composer/bandleader/humanitarian Marcus Miller,
and multi-faceted Patrice Rushen who’s a stellar
keyboardist, songwriter, producer and educator.
Among the crew of emerging innovators are post-Coltrane saxophonist Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few, dynamo funk/jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly, technically astonishing and historically knowledgeable pianist Connie Han, vibrant American Songbook songstress Halie Loren, category defining multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer MAE.SUN (Hailey Niswanger), dazzling trumpeter and expressive singer Benny Benack III, and Veronica Swift; a commanding and unpredictable singer.
Additionally, the Bay Area’s own unique jazz musicians will be highlighted and include: modernized and Afro-fused Marcus Shelby New Orchestra Featuring Tiffany Austin, who glows with a love for traditional jazz and blues; Vocal Gents of Jazz with Kenny Washington, Nicolas Bearde & Jamie Davis unite for first time to do astonishing renditions of Ellington, Count Basie and Joe Williams classics. Additionally, singer Yvonne Flores delivers a superb mix of jazz, contemporary, Latin and bossa; the festival’s multi-cultural touring band SJZ Collective with Ukrainian trumpet Yakiv Tsvietinskyi, who intermixes jazz and music from his homeland, and Malachi Whitson, who’s brilliantly played drums with jazz titans: Joshua Redman, Helen Sung, Christian McBride and Theo Croker.
San Jose Jazz Summerfest attendees are well known for loving to party down with their friends and family. That aspect of the festival will be joyfully propelled by New Orleans Brass Band marvels: The Soul Rebels, Grammy Award-nominated Afro-Cuban rockstar Cimafunk, superstar producer, DJ and rapper Pete Rock, and the 2022 Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year; saxophonist/singer/songwriter Vanessa Collier. Newly added, hip-hop pioneering legend Big Daddy Kane will inject urban flavor into the party, and the 50th Anniversary of his art form will be celebrated at the 200 Park Stage with an array of bumpin’ MCs. For added excitement, Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer and actor Anthony Hamilton, Featuring The Ton3s; W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend To Cause Havoc), blends traditional African rhythms and bush village songs with rock and R&B; Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s longstanding purveyors of pre-rock and roll jump n’ boogie blues, and gospel and R&B troubadour Marcel Smith.
From a Latin and Latin jazz perspective, specially curated
by global music expert Betto Arcos are: Chika Di, who blends
traditional Latin, electronic, afro, and pop with powerful
Colombian vocals; traditional and modern Cuban Orquesta
La Moderna Tradición with Grammy Award-winning flutist
Orlando “Maraca” Valle and VibraSÓN respectfully renders
classic salsa and Boogaloo from ‘60s. Bloco Do Sol San José
is a community ensemble of youth and adult students and
electrifying Óskar Ly & Rumbalú fuses azz, salsa, pop, and
For even more Latin music enjoyment, Gabriel Gonzalez y La Verdad is a
collective who convey the Los Angeles Latino experience through their
blend of traditional and original songs, Club Mambí includes LA-based
Cuban trumpeter and percussionist Onier Bacall with singer Maga Shukar
showcases salsa original pieces; Ensemble a Contratiempo Afrovenezuelan
Jazz are super versatile incorporating jazz, world music, and electronic
elements with their native Afro-Venezuelan roots; San Miguel represents
the New Generation of the famous Buena Vista Social Club players, and
Telmary & Friends is one of Cuba’s leading, cutting edge hip-hop and urban
music artists. They will help many connect with their heritage, and inspire
high-spirited dancing, with the Culture Night Market and marketplace being
adjacent to the Latin Tropical stage.
Furthermore, partying late into the night on Friday and Saturday, will continue with a Club Crawl at various venues. Alternatively, Sunday morning will overflow with delectable food and uplifting free music, featuring vocalist Joyce Randolph accompanied by a keyboardist, during the Gospel Brunch from 11am to 1pm at the Marriott San Jose.
At the First Unitarian Church of San José, also on Sunday morning will be a celebration with a jazz accent. This year’s theme, “The Women Who Raised Me,” inspired by Kandace Springs’ 2020 album of the same name. And Community Fest@Circle of the Palms, located inside and outside of the San José Museum of Art, will celebrate local San José culture, with cross-cultural games, performances, programs, artist projects, art displays and more, from 12–5pm. It is free and open to all; —no Fest wristband is required.
Whether a seasoned jazz lover, a curious newbie, or someone just looking for something interesting or different to do, SJJSF has a wealth of music to experience; a variety of venues, and plenty of food and beverages to enjoy and sample. Tickets range from low-price general admission to VIP experiences with up-close seating, exceptional food and drinks, shady viewing areas, and an exclusive bar and entrance gate.
San Jose Jazz's Executive Director, Brendan Rawson, stated the festival’s purpose: “We are very passionate about providing top tier programming that’s both international in scope as well as reflective of San Jose. We greatly look forward to presenting a Fest with all the elements music fans have come to love.”
August 11 - 13, 2023
33rd Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2023
Plaza de César Chavez Park, San Jose, CA
San Jose Excursions…
Along with all the great music at the SJJSF, the Santa Clara Valley
offers a variety of outdoor activities for all levels of fitness,
breathtaking vistas, Michelin Award–winning restaurants and
diverse points of interest.
Popular nearby attractions are:
The Winchester Mystery House
525 S Winchester Blvd,
San Jose, CA 95128
This is an eccentric Victorian mansion on six acres that was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. Mrs. Winchester believed that spirits killed by her deceased husband’s rifles haunted the house, resulting in her building odd rooms and staircases to keep them at bay.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium
1660 Park Ave
San Jose, CA 95191
The museum is devoted to Ancient Egypt with the largest
collection of ancient artifacts and exhibits in the Western U.S.
It’s located at the Rosicrucian Park in the Rose Garden neighborhood
of San Jose and was founded by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis.
The Tech Museum of Innovation
201 S Market St
San Jose, CA 95113
Considered more than a museum and casually called “The Tech” it is a “must” for techies and definitely not a traditional museum. Significantly, the museum has three different levels and is devoted to four themes: Communication, Exploration, Innovation and Life Tech.
San Jose Museum of Art
110 S Market St
San Jose, CA 95110
Founded in 1969 in a building that was once a post office and the San Jose Main Library
for 30 years. It was named a California Landmark and added to the National Register of
Historic Places, with a large collection 20th and 21st century West Coast artists.
Japanese American Resource Center/Museum
535 N 5th St.
San Jose, CA 95112
This the result of a research project on Japanese American Farmers in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Santa Clara Valley that developed into courses on Japanese American History and established as an institute in 1987. Included in its 6400 sq. ft. hub located in the Japantown section of San Jose are artifacts, exhibits, film screenings and lectures related to the Japanese American Experience.
Children's Discovery Museum
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
Apple Computer Co-Founder Steve Wozniak was the largest private donor when this top-rated museum and science center opened in 1990. This 52,000 sq. ft. facility is a mecca for interactive exhibits and open-ended explorations oriented to children.
Municipal Rose Garden
San Jose, CA 95112
A little over two miles from Downtown San Jose, the 5.5 acre, almost 90-year-old park (est. 1927) is a relaxing delight for rose lovers. Visitors can leisurely peruse the grounds, dine or just relax among 3,500 shrubs representing 189 rose varieties.
Japanese Friendship Garden
1300 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112
This beautiful and tranquil garden is an expanse of peace in the middle of the city. The Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) is a living symbol of the “Sister City” relationship between Okayama, Japan and San Jose. It serves as a popular setting for the perfect place for weddings and celebrations, but it best serves San Jose residents as a place to sit and reflect on the beauty and power of nature.
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
1000 Lenzen Ave.
San Jose, CA 95126
40 Post St.
San Jose, CA 95113
885 W Julian St.
San Jose, CA 95126
75 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Uproar Brewing Company
439 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Strike Brewing Company
2099 South 10th Street Unit 30
San Jose, CA 95112
For more info… www.sanjose.org
Ringo Starr, 83, and his All Starr-Band made a jubilant return to the Greek Theatre.
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