By May 31, 2020 Read More →

Livin in These Tryin Times

Jazz and BluesView: Livin’ in these Tryin’ Times
By Eric Benson

Where have you all been? It has been a minute but I have not got out much Governator’s orders. It has been a while since I have seen a lot of my friends except on social media sharing what juice they had for breakfast, belting out a tune for cyberspace ears to hear, and politics and regulations living in this new era. Some folks have the “give me liberty or give me death” vibe and these guys just want to go things with no ‘gubberment’ interference, then there are those who won’t leave their bat cave until the kryptonite is gone. Well, my fellow caped crusaders, we will be living like this for a while, so I suggest we take precautions, stay healthy and to the batmobile we go!

Sung to the tune “Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash,” if I stay it may be murder, leave the house hurt people further…come on and let me know…should I quarantine or go? I was sittin’ eatin’ my ration, listening to in your ‘face the nation’, talkin’ about the W.H.O, the folks who are in the know, come on and let me know, should I quarantine or should I go? Well, nurse Nancy’s on the scene, wearing gloves, mask & screen, you know she is the fashion queen, matching purse to make the scene. So Nancy let me know, should I quarantine or go? I will spare you more of my verses for now but I have had a lot of time on my hands.

We are returning to Blue Monday Quarantine Party Band with precautions in place Monday, June 1st Café Urbano with virtuoso Jazz guitarist Barry Finnerty with the house band. Please come out and support live music in the downtown Modesto Riviera with full bar & food available. At deadline, we do not have June booked yet at Urbano and others venues but get ready to hear some of my favorite bands this month at Urbano including Latin Flavor Band /Santana Tribute, Gerry Gervase Blues Band, Texas Funk with Roberto Gloria, Valley Wolf, Conrad Johnson Unit and the Blue Monday Jam Band.

Giving a shout out to one of our Blue Monday band members Johnny Valdes Jazz guitarist. Johnny was born in San Jose and moved early on to Modesto. He grew up listening to his father who was an accomplished guitarist playing R & B and old school music in bands. Johnny, a late bloomer started shredding on rock guitar at age 17, playing Hendrix, Santana, and the Blues. He later studied with Mimi Fox one of the better Jazz guitarist and teachers around. He has played in Hendrix tribute, Steely Dan tribute bands and plays an eclectic mix of just about anything that can be played on guitar. His bread and butter are the Johnny & Kelly band that play weddings, club dates, ‘have gig will travel.’ You can hear his influences in his playing from Wes Montgomery, Hendrix, Joe Pass, Pat Methany and John Scofield. Other musicians that shaped his approach are John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, and Chris Potter. Johnny has shared the stage with Bruce Forman, Barry Finnerty, Mic Gillette/TOP, Chris Cain, Dave Mathews, John Stowell, Mark Little and Roy Rogers slide guitarist, and Gabriel Manzo/Malo, and Blues Great Lady Bianca and Gloria Scott/Sly and Family Stone. Johnny, a long-time personal friend also has great human chops teaching music to teens and well-seasoned musicians. He is the guy on the gig that makes everyone else sound better. Peace out!


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