By September 28, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

What’s New With Jazz and Blues?

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

“Having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave…her anatomy makes the mercury go to 93, yes sir, we’re having a heat wave!”  As the summer heats up for the County Fair, X-Fest, and other outdoor summer events, there is so much to do that frequently we just stay home. I want to encourage you all to come out and enjoy our music and arts culture right here in the Valley, right here in the Downtown. You don’t have to drive to San Francisco to see a great production of drama or music. Speaking of an amazing time, John Griswold’s Global Music Series delivered success with recent sold out show with Brazilian vocalist Fabiana Passoni. The events continue and take place at a private intimate house in Modesto, no long lines, body scans, excess baggage fees, or Elvis impressions, or DJ’s. The food that is catered is so good someone stole quite a few dishes last show. Beverages are BYOB. Next up is every lady’s and some of the guy’s out there heartthrob, Slim Man coming August 28th.  So give John a holler at: (209) 491-7185, or


Another hot summer night spot to cool down in with some great music is Vito’s Italian Ristorante at 918 13th Street in the location formerly of Oceana Bar & Grill. Saturday nights the music continues 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. The line up for August is:  6th Gloria Scott Band, 13th TBA, 20th Gloria Scott Band, 27th Big Earl & the Cryin’ Shame. 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 produced by Barry White back in the day.  Call (209) 576-1851 for more info and happy hour specials available.


And on the B-side  the Jams continue:  Jax on H Street continues to host the Blue Monday Jam session every Monday night featuring the best in local bands hosting the jam playing Jazz, R & B, Funk, Rock, Reggae in an all-age venue. The lineup for August is: 1st Valley Rhythm Section with Tanya Sweet on vocals, 8th special guest the monster John Stowell on guitar with Johnny Valdez & Straight Ahead, 15th Gloria Scott Band, 22nd Big Earl & the Cryin’ Shame, and 29th Eric Benson & Ultra Lounge with special guest Derik Rolando on timbales and percussion. The Third Thursday Art Walk on the 18th is held down with the mighty Tim Allen on piano and keys doing some Elton and Billy Joel, and standards.  Jax is located at 1016 H Street behind the Gallo Center. Music starts at 7:00, with dance music by 8:30 with food and full bar available in an all-age venue. Call (209) 522-4259 for questions.


Another Blues Jam is happening at The Copper Rhino with Rhythm Deluxe with vocalist Cheryl Miller.  They host a jam third Thursdays to coincide with the downtown farmers market on 10th Street from7:00 to 9:30 and the third Thursday Art Walk, how’s that for cross promotion. Gil Sabatini manager of Skip’s Music is now slinging guitar & singing with the group.


The State Theatre brought in the English Beat to a good house. On August 13th an amazing Jazz maestro pianist Keiko Matsui comes to the State. Call the State (209) 527-4697 for the lowdown.


Sips Bistro and Wine shop also features music in a casual setting Sunday afternoons from 6:00 to 9:00 with food and wine tasting. Come by for a sip or just a little nip, call Diana for more details at (209) 527-7477.


The Boardroom located on the corner at J Street and 16th Street continues with an ambitious schedule of live music 5 nights a week. They are featuring Blues on Tuesday nights from 9:00 on with local acts on Tuesdays. Our own Johnny & Kelly holdin’ down Friday nights there. There is a dress code weekends so call (209) 409-8665 for details.


On the concert in the park thing Oakdale August 5th has Dale Hines and friends, and August 12th the Fabulous Blue Notes. And the Sierra View Music Fest August 27th features Eddie Money, Montrose, Pat Travers, and others to benefit the Heidi Brunk Music Scholarship Fund, call 681-7530 for the scoop.


And if you love Jazz like I love Jazz there are two cats to listen at, Jim Denoon and Johnny Valdez. They both teach and are nice people and the real deal. Jim is at phone (209) 576-1330, or email him at Johnny can be reached at (209) 968-1245, and can be seen at Blue Monday Jam at Jax on H Street.


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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