By August 29, 2020 Read More →

Gettin’ Crazy Up in Here

Jazz/Blues View: Gettin’ Crazy Up in Here!
By Eric Benson

    Well, things are really challenging my ability to stay calm, “La Fiesta de Masque 2nd to COVID, extreme heat, and now California is on fire. I am an optimist but man if a Tsunami rolls in I am getting a surfboard and I am gone. A lot of my peeps in the community are having a hard time whether having been furloughed, unemployed, and the worst to come – homeschooling their children on ZOOM. Yikes! Now is the time to reach out for support and keep things rollin’ even if this is the not so new normal, we must go on.
     And one of my favorite cats, the real deal Don McCaslin Senior has passed at 93 years of age. The father of Santa Cruz Jazz RIP. I met Don on a summer day 1980 rollin’ downtown Santa Cruz with long hair and my John Lennon spectacles and was transfixed on this languid tall hippie with an Apple hat playing the vibraphone with the band, flower children dancing on the sidewalk and folks taking in the scene. I perched myself next to Don and after a tune, he turned, smiled and asked, ”Do you play?” I mentioned to him I play the piano. “Do you want to sit in?” he had asked. Don gestured, ”Play something you know.” I remember saying, “Well, Don… I don’t know nothing.” Don smiles, “Well let’s play the Blues…you can’t get lost there.” He ushered me to the piano and I hung on for dear life pounding out chords and overplaying. When it was over he stood me up and had the crowd clap for me and said: ”Did good ‘youngblood’ and nobody got hurt!” From then on I was drawn to this band with Don, whose band was Warmth because “We need more warmth in the world.” I sat in with Don at Severino’s a lounge when he was now 93 years old, and although he did not remember my name he said, ”I remember you …buy me a drink!” I sang in Autumn leaves in a horrible key for me but when done he gave me the same unconditional support that he gave to countless over the years, “Sounded good, thanks for the music!” And so it goes, thank you, Don, for the love, the support, for the encouragement to a hungry you musician that needed to play and thanks for the music!. A side note Don gave up teaching age 40 and spent the next 53 years playing an average of 5 or more gigs a week, he lived for the music and the music lived in him and his fans.
      Please take a minute to reach out to the vulnerable and those that are not doing well, imagine being homeless right now. Times are tough but they will get better, but we need to take care of ourselves and each other right now. We will weather this too but in the meantime, stay safe but live your life to the fullest.
     Well, the show must go on folks and we need to be creative to keep life and the music and life going forward.  A lot of businesses are having outside seating to accommodate folks and keep everyone safe. Café Urbano is back in business and we will be doing shows outside and keep the music going. We need all our fans to come out in this difficult time to get on with life as ah; unusual!.
     On the calendar for Café Urbano September: 14th and 29th the Blue Monday Party continues hosting the Jam. In the band John Adey Bass Dave Hawks drums, Andrew Rosenblum Sax, John Burt Sax and keys Dave Dow and Eric Benson. The downbeat at 7 and goes till 10 PM for listening and dancing. Thursdays old school DJ and Sat Latin music for dancing DJ. Chris Cain Band monthly, stay tune for a date late in Sept on a Sunday.  Be like Alpha Beta and tell a friend! Your host Eric Benson.

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