A BIG BLUES WEEKEND
Because I'm a member of an international coalition that has sworn off the use of the portmanteau that occurs when one combines "rock" and "October," this seems like the perfect time to give some other genres their day—or, in this case, week—in the sun.
The Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation (SABHF), for one, is making it rather easy: This weekend is its annual Blues and Heritage Festival, as well as the attendant before- and after-parties.
The festival proper takes place at Reid Park's DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center on Sunday, Oct. 21. The all-day, family-friendly fest begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Here's a convenient schedule of performers: Silver Thread Trio (11 a.m.), The AmoSphere (11:55 a.m.), Mitzi Cowell, (12:50 p.m.), Crosscut Saw (1:25 p.m.), Dennis Jones (3 p.m.), Kelley Hunt (4:30 p.m.) and Johnny Faber (6 p.m.)
The DeMeester bandshell in Reid Park is located at 900 S. Randolph Way. Admission is $10; those 18 and younger will be admitted for free. No outside food or beverage is permitted. For more information, head to azblues.org.
The night before, on Saturday, Oct. 20, Boondocks Lounge—who else?—will host the blues-weekend kickoff party. BluesaPalooza will feature the Wayback Machine holding down the stage from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and lots of special guests are promised. Admission is $8.
Then, on Sunday, after the festival wraps up, Boondocks Lounge will also be the home of the Annual Post-Fest Blues Jam, which will also be hosted by the Wayback Machine. The event begins at 7 p.m., but expect it to really get cookin' once festival attendees make their way from Reid Park. Admission is free.
Boondocks Lounge is located at 3306 N. First Ave. For information on the Boondocks events, check out boondockslounge.com, or call 690-0991.
It seems a little odd that this next event overlaps with BluesaPalooza—though intrepid fans can probably make it to both.
Stefan George—the local musician who is perhaps best known for his country-blues music, but who has performed everything from world beat to rock, electric blues to folk—will celebrate 30 years of making music in Tucson on Saturday night.
You've likely seen George perform around town at some point, but just in case you're unfamiliar, the guy's a Tucson treasure, and he's got the accolades to prove it: He's a Tucson Area Music Awards winner in multiple categories and has been inducted into the Tucson Music Hall of Fame, the Tucson Musicians Museum and the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, of which he's currently the president.
The 30th Anniversary Celebration of Stefan George begins at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, at La Cocina, with an opening set of George playing slide-guitar blues. After that, George's new band, The Ditchriders—which also includes Jay Trapp on bass, Neil Harry on pedal steel, Gary Mackender on accordion and Lavinia White on vocals—will perform two sets. The Ditchriders are said to be a vehicle for a new batch of George's original tunes in a twangy, border country mode.
If you attend the show, be sure to wish Stefan a happy birthday: He turns 60 on Saturday.
La Cocina is located at 201 N. Court Ave. Admission is free. For further details, head to lacocinatucson.com, or call 622-0351.
A FATHER OF BRITISH BLUES
While we're on the topic of the blues, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that John Mayall, the guitarist who helped kick-start the British blues invasion of the 1960s, will head into town for a show on Friday, Oct. 19, at the Fox Tucson Theatre.
As the founder of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the guitarist saw the likes of future superstars Eric Clapton, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), and Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones) pass through his ranks.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m., and the Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W. Congress St. Advance tickets are $27 to $52, and are available at foxtucsontheatre.org or by calling 547-3040. Use the same info for more information.
Continuing in a non-rock vein, there's also a pair of nifty (yes, I just said "nifty") jazz events taking place this weekend.
There are only two weeks left in the Tucson Jazz Society's (TJS) annual Jazz Under the Stars series, and this weekend's event looks to be quite a humdinger. (Yes, I just said "humdinger.")
The show is called Cool and Hot, and according to the TJS's Sandy Riser, will bring together "both traditional jazz and a completely new concept in jazz music."
Cool and Hot will be divided into two distinct sections. The first half of the night will feature the incredibly gifted guitarist Matt Mitchell performing with one of his many bands, the Hot Club of Tucson, which, as you can probably tell from the band's name, performs jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt. In addition to Mitchell, the band features Kelland Thomas on alto saxophone, and Evan Dain on the upright bass.
The second half of the night will be devoted to something truly unusual: steel-drum jazz courtesy of Eric Hines and Pan Dulce. According to a press release from the TJS, "The transcendent sound of the pan is associated with the laid-back style of Jamaican music, but in Hines' hands, it is like the searing saxophone solos of Sonny Rollins." Consider my curiosity piqued. The band also includes a trio of percussionists—Danny Brito, Aaron Szabo and Robin Horn—as well as keyboardist Sly Slipetsky, Brian Hicks on tenor sax, bassist Mark Usvolk and a return guest appearance by Matt Mitchell.
Cool and Hot, the penultimate event in TJS's Jazz Under the Stars series, begins at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, at Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Advance tickets are available for $25; $20 for TJS members and military with ID; and $15 for students with ID. Non-discounted tickets will be available for $30 at the door. For more information, or to purchase tickets, head to tucsonjazz.org, or call 903-1265.
THE CHURCH OF JAZZ
The other noteworthy jazz event I referred to above is not exactly a concert.
Each year in October, St. Mark's Presbyterian Church presents an annual Jazz Sunday service in which, according to a press release, "the elements of traditional liturgy are played and sung in jazz." The intent, according to the Rev. Mike Smith, who will play drums at the service, "is to connect the worshipers to God and each other through the range of emotions jazz evokes."
In addition to Smith, the service will feature Lisa Otey (piano and vocals), Diane Van Deurzen (vocals), Rob Boone (trombone), John Snavely (clarinet) and Mike Levy (bass).
Jazz Sunday begins at 11 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, and St. Mark's is located at 3809 E. Third St. All are welcome, as according to that press release, "St. Mark's is a More Light Church, which stands for equal rights for all God's children, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religious view or any other human condition." More info at stmarkspresbyterian.org.
ON THE BANDWAGON
There are loads more great shows happening this week (including rock concerts) that we didn't have the space to get into, so be sure to check out our listings. In the meantime, here are some highlights: Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears and Discos at Plush on Saturday, Oct. 20; BET Music Matters Tour featuring Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock at the Rialto Theatre on Monday, Oct. 22; Crocodiles and the Early Black at Club Congress on Wednesday, Oct. 24; MEOWmeow Productions presents Bloodbath! at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 20; The Daily Show's Indecision 2012 Tour Live at UA Centennial Hall on Friday, Oct. 19; Rasputina and Faun Fables at Club Congress on Saturday, Oct. 20; Andrew Collberg and Sammy Decoster at La Cocina on Friday, Oct. 19; Slashed Tires, Katterwaul, Arcsin(100) and Such Confidence at Tucson Live Music Space on Saturday, Oct. 20; Opti Club presents Daft Punk'd Party at Club Congress, next Thursday, Oct. 25; The Isotopes, Hank Topless, Quiet Please and Cariad at Tucson Live Music Space on Sunday, Oct. 21; Cosy Sheridan at Abounding Grace Sanctuary on Saturday, Oct. 20; K-Bass and FM and Planet Jam at The Hut on Saturday, Oct. 20; The Pork Torta, Satellite Freakout and Algae and Tentacles at La Cocina, next Thursday, Oct. 25; The Mission Creeps and Little Red Lung at Plush on Friday, Oct. 19; Jealousy Mountain Duo and Boreas at Solar Culture Gallery, next Thursday, Oct. 25.