Jazz&BluesView by Eric Benson

Blue Monday’s back in town. Well looking forward to those Ides’ of March, the blustery winds that still chill us to the bone forecasting the promise of spring. I hope you have your garden seedling in, your trees pruned, potatoes sowed, and have given your prayers and affirmations on visualizing rain in the forecast. And as for the local crop of musicians and artists, I’m going to say a few words each month for our locally grown artists in our community garden.

One of my fave local drummers is Ian Stambaugh. Ian plays with Big Earl & Cryin shame by night, and teacher of drums by day at locally owned Skip’s Music store. With 16 yrs playing & teaching for 10, Ian has the chops to play it all but prefers jazz, funk and music that allows the drummer some room. Ian has recorded and toured with Megan Slankard for two years playing at: Slim’s, Great American Music Hall, Whiskey a Go Go, and many other venues. He also received a scholarship & attended Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena, Ca. as well as studying privately with local and regional greats: Dave Hawkes (Skips-Modesto), Mike Johnston, Chuck Silverman, & Aaron Serfaty (LA Music Academy). His teaching approach involves reading music, technique, different styles of music and individualizing approach to each student. Ian teaches out of Skip’s Music Modesto, and can be reached at: (209) 380-2707

The State Theatre, home of the MAMA awards continues with some community friendly booking. March 7th Tommy Castro & the Pain Killers returns, March 14th Pat Travers & Chris Cain, and March 30th Ozomatli. I’m biased as have been a Chris Cain fan for 30 yrs but the show not to be missed is his. Robin Ford one of the better Jazz and Blues guitarists on the planet has said: if there’s one Blues artist playing and singing the Blues today to listen to its Chris Cain. If you’re going to Tommy Castro get your tickets now, as he sells out!

Still time to get tickets to one of my favorite slide guitarists on the scene Dennis Johnson who is returning this year to the West Side Theatre Sat march 7th. Dennis draws inspiration from the tree of Delta Blues, from Robert Johnson & Elmore James to the present day electric/eclectic slide artists of Roy Rogers & others. If you love the Blues guitar with great grooves to dance to come down, you won’t be disappointed! Check out: DennisJohnsonslide.com.

Blue Monday Party is back in business with monthly events in the downtown. Please come down Monday March 3th to the Barkin’ Dog Grill at 7:00 and hang with Ultra Lounge Band with Johnny & Kelly, Tim Allen on bass, vocals, Eric Benson on keys and special guest this month the marvelous soulful singer Mrs. Gloria Scott. Gloria was produced by Barry White in the 70’s, and sang with Ike & Tina Turner, and Sly & Family Stone and is one of the better R & B singers you will ever hear anywhere USA. Come down to jam, listen, dance, or hoist a glass and enjoy! We would love to have you help continue the tradition in the downtown. Also Johnny Valdes is doing a work shop for all instruments at 6:00 PM one hour prior to the Blue Monday at Barkin’ Dog. So if you want to learn to burn give a holler and I will hook you up, Eric at: Mbenson@fire2wire.com.

One last shout out to Jamie Dubberly Latin Jazz arranger, Trombonist for winning a Latin Grammy for best Tropical Latin Jazz Album! Jamie is bringing some of the best Salsa to the First United Methodist Church one Sunday a month. Check out WWW.orquestradharma.com for the details. Need to get, give me something to promote get me at: mbenson@fire2wire.com, or cell 209-918-7033.

Peace out, Eric Benson

Photo Caption: Ian jams the blues with Johnny Valdes at Hero’s Photo: Chris Murphy



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