Aug. 25, 2005
by BOB DORAN
THE GROUP'S SIMPLE TITLE TRIO! IS USUALLY APPENDED WITH THE names of the players: jazz fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, the noted jazz-rock bassist Stanley Clarke and Bela Fleck, who basically made up his own mutant banjo style playing with his electric bluegrass/jazz/jamband The Flecktones.
[Photo at right: Bella Fleck, Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty]
In a call from Reno, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty noted that Trio! has been working its way west playing concert halls and festivals, including the Newport and Montreaux jazz festivals -- but not just jazz festivals. "Not that we play jazz. Jazz is an element we incorporate in our music, but it's not the only one. Thanks to Bela, we played the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That was a first for me and Stanley."
The other elements? "For Stanley there are several things including blues and R&B. There is a progressive approach to bluegrass coming from Bela; he also touches on classical music, since he did an album of that music. He was not classically trained at all, he's self-taught, but he touches on all styles of music. For my part of course there is classical music as an influence from my youth, which somehow transpires still in my writing."
And they music they play together? "It's definitely fusion, in a broad sense," says Ponty, but it's not electric. "We play acoustic instruments. As far as the music goes, Bela says he grew up listening to us, to the bands of the jazz-rock era, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu He is from a younger generation; he followed our footsteps, but came up with his original ideas. That's why we have no problem understanding each other musically. People ask, `Wow, Bela Fleck, Stanley and you, what kind of music will it be?' The answer, it's perfectly fusion and not just jazz and rock -- there is classical music, South American rhythms, a bit of African, bluegrass -- not just jazz and rock for sure." Catch the trio's string fusion Tuesday, August 30, at HSU's Van Duzer Theatre.
Summer is fading fast but the festival season lingers on. This Saturday, in addition to the Organic Planet Festival by the bay in Eureka, there's Hops in Humboldt down in Fortuna, the Rotary Club's microbrew bash with sips from local brewers plus others coming in from several Western states. The music starts around noon with slewgrass by the Slewfoot String Band, followed by Magnolia (1:45), groovin' folk rock by Kulica (3:15), then The Delta Nationals, back in action to close the show. Drummer Paul DeMark says that Steve Irwin is "ready to go," declaring, "You can't keep a good Delta National down!" The D. Nats also play Sunday afternoon on the Plaza sharing the bill with the young rocker Terrapin Tony and his band.
Meanwhile in a windowless basement room at the Eureka Vet's Hall, it's another action-packed episode of Bummerfest. This year Placebo's hearty blast of indie rock showcases 38 assorted alt acts with added emphasis on our healthy homegrown scene. Saturday's show includes local luminaries Lowlights (3:15), The Daytime Minutes (4:30), The Dean (5:15), Que La Chinga (6:30), The Ravens (7:45), Trash and Roll (9 p.m.) and many more, with out-of-towners The Bug Pedals (5:45), hip hop robots
8 Bit (7 p.m.) and The Pasties from Olympia (8:15). Sunday's imports, female rappers Foxy Autopsy (6:45/8 p.m.), the tent band, Quem Quaeritis (7:30), girl group The Sharp Ease (8:45) and another Oly combo, Romanteek (10 p.m.), join scads more locals including The Buffy Swayze (4 p.m.), Shaking Hands (4:30), Winston Smith (5:15), The Ian Fays (5:45), Eureka Garbage Co. (6:15), Dragged by Horses (7 p.m.), Monster Women (8:15), The Great Salvation (9:30), closing with noise from Pubic Zirconium. Swimming, DJ Red and DJ Spencer Doran play in between.
It's twang time Saturday night at The Alibi. With Slewfoot String Band (fresh from Hops in Humboldt) joined by alt.country rockers The Bottom Dwellers. Listening to Twang Americana, the Dwellers' new disc,
I guessed that these are guys whose idea of country is along the lines of The Stones' Exile period, when they were hanging out with Gram Parsons. Guitarist Adam Hancock says that's not far off the mark. "That's pretty much it," he said calling from Woodland, near Davis. "Alt.country is like country rock; it's swampy dirty music, not traditional, although we do some kind of traditional stuff. Like when we played the Yolo County Fair yesterday, we did some Willie Nelson tunes, some Merle Haggard. But most of it is original." And it's damn good, too. Stop by even if you are festivaled out. They'll get your blood flowing again.
And let's not forget, the summer of country stars in casino bingo rooms continues this week with shows in Trinidad and Blue Lake. First up is Tanya Tucker, who plays Saturday night at Blue Lake's Sapphire Palace. Tanya's been at it for decades, starting in 1972, when she was just 13, with her big splash, "Delta Dawn," and continuing with periodic hits ever since. At Cher Ae Heights Tuesday, August 30, it's The Bellamy Brothers, who first hit the charts in `75 with the country-rocker
"Let Your Love Flow." As the top country duo in the `80s, the bros were always ready to fuse new elements with country; in fact they beat Willie Nelson to the punch with their 1998 album, Reggae Cowboys. Yeah mon, that's right -- twangy reggae.
On the blues side, catch Buddy Reed solo at Gallagher's Pub Friday and Saturday. Or head south to the Riverwood Inn, where Too Slim and the Tail Draggers bring Tales of Sin and Redemption from Spokane. And at Six Rivers Brewery, it's one more night of blues by Karen Dumont and the Electric Slide Band before Karen goes gospel.
Longtime locals may enjoy the reunion of two `70s era rock bands, Rolling Bob and Duck Soup, this Saturday at Rumours. Says Larry Lampi, "If you remember either of these bands, The Keg or the Bar & Grill, or just like `70s music, come on down!"
The Ron the Chron Mustache Party at Muddy Waters Saturday seems to be some Nucleus inside joke. Admission is free unless you have no mustache, but not to worry, they will draw one on you at the door. No facial hair required for the Ponche! salsa party at Six Rivers Brewery that night.
Celebrating Bird is Cuckoo's Nest's annual birthday party/concert for jazz legend Charlie "Bird" Parker. The show at Westhaven Center for the Arts Sunday features the Gypsy jazzers shifting into bebop mode playing tunes by Bird, Monk, Dizzy, Miles and other cool cats with a couple of special guests: guitarist Blake Brown and percussionist Mike LaBolle. Added bonus: birthday cake!
The Alibi doesn't seem a likely venue for a singer/songwriter night, but then again, Dameon Lee from Lowlights, Deric Mendes, formerly of SWoD, and Colin Begell from Strix Vega are not your typical songsters; they're more in the alternative vein. Hear what they have to sing on Sunday, August 28.
Bluegrass? Stop by Muddy Waters Monday, August 29, for some hot pickin' by the Head for the Hills Bluegrass Band from Olympia.
The Westhaven Center has another show coming Tuesday, Aug 30, with three guys stopping on their way to the 3rd Annual Harp Guitar Gathering in Oregon: luthier/songwriter Fred Carlson, inventor of the Sympitar and the Harp-Sympitar; Jeff Titus, a guitarist influenced by Michael Hedges, who plays Carlson's instruments; and Gregg Miner, curator of the Miner Museum of Vintage, Exotic & Just Plain Unusual Musical Instruments in Van Nuys. Expect some cool tunes strummed on unusual instruments. That's at 7:30 p.m. $8 at the door; 677-9493 for rezzies or info.
How does a concert promoter celebrate his birthday? Matthew from Passion Presents is throwing a reggae party at Mazzotti's Wednesday, August 31, with Jamaican legends Israel Vibrations providing the entertainment. Passion associates Mobile Chiefing Unit open the show.
Xavier (Chief Xcel) Mosley and Tim (Gift of Gab) Parker, aka the conscious hip hop duo Blackalicious, return to Humboldt for a CenterArts show at the Kate Buchanan Room next Thursday, Sept. 1, touring in support of the new album, The Craft, due later this month from Epitaph imprint Anti Records.
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