Summertime, Music is Easy--Juice debuts new EP, Brother Gumption rocks Bluefin, Flora Purim in Santa Cruz.
Thursday, July 16, 1998
It''s summer, tourists are clogging up the highways and the fog sometimes burns off the beaches for fun in the sun. Out in the valley, where there are still some fruit orchards, mixed in with the vineyards that are cropping up all over the hillsides, the ripening peaches and pears should be just about ready for picking. And what do you do with ripe fruit? You pick it and make juice. But if you''re like me and can''t wait for the real thing, get that same healthy glow by listening to Juice and The Recruits this Friday night at Whitey''s Place.
Our local boys in Juice have just come out of the studio after laying down tracks for a four-song EP which, in another week, will get its final mix. And The Recruits, out of the San Jose area, have released their second self-prduced CD Just Pick It. Both bands have interesting, rocking sounds that should keep you hanging around the bar for the whole show. In fact, Sean Michael White of Juice tells me this should be their best show yet.
"We''ve been rehearsing and playing a lot up in the studio," he says. "We''re really tight and we''ve got some tricks planned. We''re going all out with lights, good sound, and a stage backdrop."
Bassist/vocalist White, guitarist Justin Saunders, keyboardist Mitch Fadam and drummer Charlie Sutter have been working up in Berkeley at Roof Brothers recording studio with engineer Josh Roberts (Creeper Lagoon, Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Melvins) and producer/manager Jenny McPhee (The Tubes, Todd Rundgren, XTC) to put together a calling-card EP for gigs out of the area and to shop around to labels. They''re happy with their work so far, but "a lot could happen in the mix," says White. Get a sneak preview at their show with The Recruits opening.
The Recruits is a 10-year-old band that has received airplay in the Bay Area on such notable radio stations as KOME and KFOG. They started their own record label, Dare2 Records in 1995 and released their self-titled debut. Now with their second full-length CD, they are hitting the road in its support and have recently opened for such acts as the Wallflowers, Matchbox 20 and the Primitive Radio Gods. The album''s first single "Selective Amnesia" is an upbeat, bouncy song with ringing guitars and lyrics about finding a day where nothing gets in the way of enjoying the moment.
"Free my soul and float away/Though my life''s in disarray/Nothing matters when you choose to play/Selective amnesia/Free my soul and float away/Too mixed up to care/I''m on a wing and a prayer/Sometimes I just like to be alone/Don''t want much of anything/Just a place to sit under a tree/With a bit of shade and maybe a breeze/I can think...I can dream...I can dream." This is a summer hit if I''ve ever heard one. Juice should be proud to have these guys open for them.
Juice and The Recruits, Friday, 9:30pm, Whitey''s Place, Monterey. $2 cover, 646-8383.
Rock sure is grabbing the spotlight this week. Another new band to the area, Brother Gumption, comes to Blue Fin Billiards and Cafe on Friday by way of Chico and Santa Cruz. Although, as usual, nobody wants to be aligned too closely with the sound of another band, I couldn''t help but pull out right away the similarities of lead vocalist Eric Smith''s voice to Blues Traveler''s John Popper. And to make matters more sticky, Smith plays the harmonica, too. The good word here is I like the differences that exist in the similarities. Smith''s vocals have more growl and soul to them than Popper''s; even though the big frontman for Blues Traveler has to be one of the best rock harmonica players in the world, he sometimes plays too many notes for too long a time. Smith has a tasteful amount of harmonica in the song "Little Brown Girl" which has received airplay on Chico''s 93.9 KFM, which supposedly is the largest rock station north of Sacramento. Dubious distinction, but hey, you take what you can get in this business. Anyways, I think this band''s mix of funky, soulful rock could catch your ear long enough to put down the cue stick and take a look what''s happening over near the bar. The three-year-old band''s first self-produced CD is titled Impression of Mr. Passion and has 14 songs on it.
"The songs are pretty eclectic on the first recording," says Smith. "We were experimenting with different aspects of music. The next album will be more focused. We want to try to keep things more similar, in the same style, with a little ska and hard rock rhythms."
Brother Gumption, Friday, 9pm, Blue Fin Billiards and Cafe, Monterey, no cover, 375-7000.
Two shows in jazz this weekend are worth catching. Here on the south end of the Bay at The Jazz Store, Delbert Bump Jazz Organ Trio featuring Babatunde on percussion should be a great show. The B-3 Hammond organ is really making its presence known in jazz these days. I''ve seen at least two bands in the past six months with an organ as part of the lineup in funk-based fusion jazz bands like the Will Bernard Quartet and John Scofield''s Quartet. In Bump''s press release, he says his music is designed to bring forth the history and innovative future of jazz forms. Although elements from the past are represented, the tunes he plays with Babatunde and guitarist Steve Homan cover many genres: blues, bebop, fusion, hip-hop and spirituals. Babatunde (this is the younger percussionist, not the master drummer Olatunji) is an energetic drummer whose pulse and driving force light up the music in true artistic fashion, says Bump, and Homan''s guitar playing is in great demand. He has played with Anita O''Day, Joe Williams and Herb Ellis. The Delbert Bump Trio has released a CD titled Organ-ization with songs that are dynamic and interactive in nature.
Delbert Bump Jazz Organ Trio, Saturday, 7:30pm, The Jazz Store, Carmel. $25, 624-6432.
And up in Santa Cruz at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, the exotic Brazilian pair Flora Purim & Airto perform Monday night. An institution of sorts, the couple has been married 25 years and performed together longer. Vocalist Purim has made 28 albums of uplifting and fiery, rhythmically-based music in her 30 year career as a singer and percussionist, working with pianist Chick Corea''s famed Return To Forever fusion band in the early ''70s and has many collaborations with her husband and with drum masters Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain and Babatunde Olatunji. She has also sung with bassist Stanley Clarke and pianist McCoy Tyner.
Airto Moreira is one of the world''s most sought after percussionists. In 1968, when he came to the US, he joined Miles Davis'' groundbreaking fusion band with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. He was a founding member of both Weather Report and Return to Forever and has recorded with jazz great Cannonball Adderly, Paul Simon and Santana, among others. Purim''s latest release is titled What You See Remixes and with their band Fourth World, the two have recently released Africa which exemplifies the rich cultural cross-fertilization in contemporary music.
Flora Purim & Airto, Monday, 7:30pm and 9:30pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, $15 advanced, $17 door, 427-2227. cw