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What’s New with Jazz and Blues? October

What’s New with Jazz and Blues?
By Eric Benson

We have lost three of our great local musicians in the last couple of years, Jazz trumpeter Deck Hogin, master guitarist Carl Robinson and now Ernie Bucio. Ernie Bucio, Jazz and classical musician, bandleader and music educator, passed from a massive stroke in August. The outpouring of a standing room only musical memorial at MJC Auditorium on September 10th, 2011 showed the impact of what one man’s life can have on a community.


It was inspiring to see the people whose lives he affected with his music, work ethic and tireless love of his craft.   Hopefully he is transitioning into his “nest big gig” upstairs next to Gabriel and his golden horn holding down second chair. Our condolences go out to the family, and Ernie my man you will be missed. Long time band mate and tenor man Marti Martinez will do a piece on Ernie for Modesto View next month.

On with the business at hand, the State Theatre continues to bring in some quality shows featuring a Flying Blind Reunion street party on Saturday October 1st. The State will have food and bar, and VIP lounge area, doors open 6:00 p.m.This will be a homecoming for one of the hottest working bands Modesto has know. If dining before the show, Vito’s Italian Ristorante offers a discount for those attending the State shows.  Call the State (209) 527-4697 for the lowdown.


Last event of the season for John Griswold’s Global Music Series will bring in two monster guitarists, Richard Smith & Franscesco Buzzurro to the WhitmoreMansion on Oct. 8th. The duo merges the Jazz & modern influences of Richard and Classical and Flamenco to Franscesco’s playing. The Mansion is a nice outside venue with good sound, catered food and full bar with plenty of room to stroll around while enjoying the music.  So give John a holler for more info at: (209) 491-7185, or


Vito’s Italian Ristorante at 918 13th Street continues on Saturday nights with Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Latin music with a showcase for vocalists from 8:30 to 11:30 with great food and full bar.  There will also be an invitational late night jam for musicians getting off the gig. One of my favorite Jazz and Rhythm & Blues singer Gloria Scott will be holing down two Saturdays a month. If you have not heard of Gloria Scott, she is one of our best singers in the valley that used to sing with Sly & The Family Stone, and was produced by Barry White back in the day.  Call (209) 576-1851 for more info andhappy hour specials available.


More music in the downtown with: Barkin’ Dog Grill has a Jazz Jam with David Dow on Thursdays, Friday Blues with John Black Presents. Camp 4 Wine Café Wednesdays with Scott Bartenhagen. Chef’s of New York singing great Cathy Canales on Saturdays. Galletto Ristorante Fridays, Saturdays with Natalia on the grandpiano & sultry vocals cocktail hours. The Boardroom in the downtown continues to support live music 4 nights a week with Tim Allen Tuesdays, Thursdays Neil Buetner and Matt Harrington, Friday’s dynamic duo Johnny & Kelly, and Saturdays rotate with: MCW Band, Strange Brew, The Nines, & Public Domain. Dress code weekends so call so you don’t offend, (209) 409-8665 for details.


Off the beaten path: the Clarion Hotel & Shooters on Sisk road have comedy Mondays, Salsa dance lessons Tuesdays, Wednesdays with the Creole Jazz Kings. Reg Evans & Central Valley Music group host an event


Everyone gets lei’d Music fest & car show on Oct. 8th, and Halloween Monster Mash Bash on Oct 29th. And the St. Claire Theatre on 7th Street featuring Saturday comedy shows in an intimate theatre environment with bar and food available. And for the teens and parents Brenda Franscais of Modesto Sound Studios is doing their fundraiser Sunday Oct. 30th, a spooky dance off from 5:00-9:00 p.m. with haunted house, costume contest and dancing. The Petersen Event Center is on 720 12th Street. My teens went to the last one and stayed all night. Questions or if interested in helping with the event contact Brenda:

Sips Bistro and Wine shop also features Jazz and popular music in a casual setting Sunday afternoons from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. with food and wine tasting. Regulars on the music menu are: Jazzoni, Michele Richardson, and Dave Bagget. Come by for a sip or just a little nip.  Call Diana for more details at (209) 527-7477.


The West Side Theatre in Newman continues with an eclectic lineup in a restoredtheatre environment.  The tickets are affordable, food & drink andseating are great. Coming up October 1st tribal funk eco hippie soul band Clan Dyken, “Women in Blues” Oct. 8th with Alice Stuart & Anne Weiss great vocalists and guitar slingers, and a taste of the Big BandJazz Oct 21st with Westphalian School of Music from Germany, andJames Garner does Johnny Cash in musical and dramatic tribute October 22nd.  Check out:, or call (209) 862-4490 for the lowdown on the hoedown.


And on the Zydeco news our own Blues Box with Pete Grimaldi on squeeze box is doing 2 dance events in Sonora, the Cajun Festival on Oct. 15th, and all hallows eve Celtic fest on Oct. 22nd at the Motherload fairgrounds in Sonora.  Pete’s working on some dates for November at the Eagle’s Hall Modesto for those of us close to town.


And lastly the mighty Jim Denoon, one of the valley’s best guitarists ever produced and co owner of Buck’s Music will be doing a liquidation sale as of October 1st. All gear will be discounted to close down Buck’s Music so Jim can get back to his home town gig in Las Vegas. Call Jim at phone (209) 576-1330, or email him at


And one final thought with many venues not available to live music related to the economy myself and others are conspiring to do monthly house parties, or as was known in the Jazz era “rent parties” to keep the music flowing. So please call or contact me if you want to be a coconspirator. I encourage all of you to send me your info and I will send it out on weekly email and in the Modesto View. Hit me at:, or give me a holler at (209) 918-7033.

All the best, Eric Benson, peace out.



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