MONDAY JAZZ HANG: With fall in the offing, jazz fans can be warmed by the knowledge that the jazz concert season is back in business. We have artists as talented as Ahmad Jamal and Charlie Haden/Carla Bley’s Liberation Music Orchestra to look forward to at the Lobero, while other notable jazz heads our way courtesy of UCSB, including Brazilian great Milton Nascimento this fall and the indisputably great Sonny Rollins early next year.
On the “street” level, jazz worth hearing has also been slipping into the local mix. It behooves any S.B. jazz fan to check out SOhO’s Monday night bookings. Two weeks ago we got a hearty taste of the young and forward-thinking NYC jazz population when the LeBoeuf Bros. and Mike Ruby Quintet stopped by the State Street club. Mixing up solid swinging contemporary ideas and even adding in elements of hip-hop throughout, the band was friendly and funky and brainy.
Next Monday, another East Coaster coasts through. The Dan Pratt Organ Quartet, outta’ Brooklyn and bristling and bustling with music goods, returns after having played at the regrettably short-lived Firebird Lounge a few years back. A fine saxist, Pratt leads the charges, including the Ferber Bros.-trombonist Alan and drummer Mark-and Hammond B-3 player Jared Gold. Pratt’s group is a prime example of a band with deep roots in the land of new ideas. There is no lack of swing or bluesy organ group sauce in their sound, but we’re reminded of their 21st-century residency through the band’s harmonic language and attitude, not to mention the refreshing presence of trombone.
RADIOHEADSPACE: A funny thing happened on the way to the Bowl the night Radiohead was on the property-a little thing called great expectations to be blown away, duly realized in their two hours onstage. For those afflicted with Radiohead rabidity, there were more goose bump moments per hour than any other S.B. show in recent memory that night. But it’s all a subjective matter, all about the fetishism of fandom and the nature of bands qualifying for the “Only Band That Matters” appellation. After and outside of such a surrogate religious experience, reality seems both enlivened and a little paler by comparison. That’s the one-two punch of true love.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON, SOUTH SIDE SLIDING: Veteran bluesman Elmore James Jr. calls his new album Daddy Gave Me the Blues. Father James, one of the more mythical icons of blues history, also gave junior his name in a roundabout manner. He was born Earnest Johnson in Richmond, Mississippi, as the result of a union with his mother and the roving blues legend James, whose periodic visits home imparted the musical bug to his son. The original James made “Dust My Broom” famous and the very mention of his name conjures up the echoing memory of his signature slide guitar riff. Taking his father’s name in the mid ’60s, on the advice of Willie Dixon, young James Jr. worked on the South Side of Chicago into the ’70s, but has burst forth onto the large world stage only recently, with the help of bandleader and ace blues-loving dealmaker, guitarist Cadillac Zack.
On Saturday, James Jr. lands at Warren Hall, Santa Barbara’s home of the blues, in the next congregation of the Santa Barbara Blues Society. The SBBS has been an admirable source for the public/cultural good in this town for decades. For one thing, the society offers the young listener in all of us evidence for the defense that rock and roll would not exist without this root source. So anyone who catches the Stone Temple Pilots at the Bowl on Saturday can drift over to Warren Hall and see from whence those riffs came: much of it hails from the South Side of Chicago. Just ask the Rolling Stones. James Jr.’s visit should be a hot number, with a powerful family crest attached.