Photo Credits Eli and Big Earl – by Theelle Productions Ian Stanbaugh Trio by George Osner

Poetry and JazzView By Eric Benson

I know we have got to think globally and act locally but sometimes you just gots to get out of town. So I caught José Feliciano, one of my mentors and inspirations for the music at Yoshi’s Japanese Restaurant and music venue on March 8th in Oakland. It is so invigorating that José, who at 17 tore it up on American Bandstand and today at 68 yrs young, is still playing and singing with such intensity that his young band members have to keep up.

Yes he has a few gray hairs but he still sings like a bird and plays guitar with Flamenco fire. As a seasoned player he plays with such dynamics and ease with different tempos, styles from Latin, Jazz, pop, rancheros to Bolero that is inspiring that some of us just don’t get older but better. At the end of the set I wished he would have played that Beatle’s tune or that song from that album that he did so well, but I realized if he played everything that I grew up listening to we would have been there a week! Long live José, older but he ain’t slowin down yet.

So now back in town and enjoying our local scene, the Third Thursday Art Walk. I’ve put my winter coat away and back in my Hawaiian shirts and shorts. I know that spring just sprung but I’m suspending disbelief until summer. And with the change in latitude and my attitude the Art Walk is back in bloom. In March Papachino’s on J had two young women playing violin, Deva Café had the Thursday night ramble with some great music, Barkin’ Dog Grill had Dave Dow’s Jazz Jam session with some great players sittin’ in with even a Tuba player playing bass lines. The Peer Recovery had a room full of Thursday night revelers enjoying the art and hors d’oeuvres. There were many people in the downtown enjoying a nice still spring night out.

More bright moments in store for the month. The State Theatre continues with quality musical offerings. Coming April 12th Ozomatli. We are also excited that our local bands are doing things at the State! So come on down and support the State, check out www.thestate.org<http://www.thestate.org/>. The Gallo Center continues with some quality shows, in April: West Side Story, (Broadway review), Music of Mozart, (Modesto Symphony Orchestra, and Cappella Palooza). West Side Theatre in Newman for April brings in Daniel Castro, regional Blues guitar slinger and singer Sat 20th, Kelly McDonald, seasoned guitarist singer playing originals and covers. If you love the Blues and love to dance don’t miss Daniel, great singer and guitarist with no relation to Tommy Castro. For the info: www.westsidetheatre.org<http://www.westsidetheatre.org/>. Reg Evans of Central Valley Music Group continues to promote a showcase of local bands at the Clarion on Friday nights. Saturday nights a DJ spins Soul music for listening and dancing. Tuesday offers Salsa with DJ and Wednesdays with Dixieland with the Creole Jazz Kings at 6:00 p.m.

And as the ebb tide of all things happen we suddenly have a jam-session extravaganza in the downtown: Barkin’ Dog Grill has Dave Dow, Jazz pianist hosting the Thursday night jam from 7 to 10:00 p.m., all ages, Hero’s Sports Bar hosts a Jazz and popular music jam with Ian Stambaugh Trio featuring Johnny Valdes on guitar Tuesday nights 7-10:00 p.m., and Wednesdays has rotating Blues Bands hosting an invitational jam from 7-10:00 p.m., wow! So come down and sit in, stand in, or just lay down. And the Jazz Vespers series at the Unitarian Church on 16th Street April 14th, features Joe Mazzaferro Quartet, Joe is director of CSU Stanislaus of Jazz studies. And Jamie Dubberly, trombone player involved with the Vespers project is doing a kickstarter campaign for his new Latin-Jazz album so check out:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1761855883/jamie-dubberly-and-orquesta-dharma-2nd-studio-albu Web: www.orquestadharma.com<http://www.orquestadharma.com/>.

Also on the Latin front, John Griswold is doing a benefit fun-raiser for the Mistlin Gallery on July 27th featuring Cuban music, Cuban food, dancing and even Cuban cigars! It will be held at the M. Peterson Event Center in the downtown Modesto. Mo info soon, check out www.havanafocus.org<http://www.havanafocus.org/> which will be up soon. John’s at Sambaarts@live.com. Need to get, give me some input at: mbenson@fire2wire.com, or cell 209-918-7033. Peace out, Eric Benson



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