From Bright Eyes to be-bop, and back.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
This fall’s music options in Monterey County are kind of like those all-you-can-eat buffets offering Chinese food, fried chicken and tamales, all under the same heat lamp. But in this case, the variety is never spread thin with soggy and tasteless results.
Of course the world-class Monterey Jazz Festival (925-275-9255), running Sept. 17-19 at the Fairgrounds, has been a fall staple around these parts since the days of John Coltrane and Billie Holiday. The 53rd Annual MJF brings the best of the best in the jazz world, as it always does, including fest veterans Chick Corea, artist-in-residence Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Chris Potter, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Billy Childs with the Kronos Quartet, and festival newbies Harry Connick Jr., Ahmad Jamal, Angelique Kidjo, Les Nubians, Delbert McClinton, Trombone Shorty and Nellie McKay.
Down the coast in Big Sur, with autumn comes a whirlwind of exciting acts beginning with a special evening with Conor Oberst and the Felice Brothers at Fernwood (667-2422) on Oct. 1. The minimalist singer-songwriter-storyteller, known best for his work with Bright Eyes, is often referred to as a more confessional version of Bob Dylan. Emmylou Harris, who sings on three tracks on Oberst’s I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, once said of the musician, “Conor lives in his own world.” The New York folk quintet The Felice Brothers – backing Oberst and playing their own set – blend epic literature-inspired songs with ragged guitar, fiddle and accordion.
The Annual Gospel in the Park at Seaside’s Laguna Grande Park lines up a praise-worthy line-up of local performers Chrishenda Cooper and Spirit, the Victory Temple Choir and more, with out-of-towners Glory Bound and Bishop Hall on Sept. 25. And here’s something you don’t hear every day – free barbecue. Donations are appreciated, but folks appreciate this community spirited event exponentially more.
Though the 350 available tickets sold out in under three minutes, it’s still worth mentioning that Arcade Fire – whose latest LP The Suburbs spent several weeks at number one on the Billboard charts – will play an intimate show at the Henry Miller Library (667-2574) on Oct. 5. The seven-piece Montreal band – fronted by husband and wife duo Win Butler and Régine Chassagne – has a sound that is as extensive and well-constructed as a philharmonic orchestra; during live performances AF incorporates everything from a viola and cello to a French horn and hurdy-gurdy. Like its earlier and masterful Funeral, The Suburbs fixates on a single concept that successfully bleeds through all 16 tracks on the album.
The Sunset Center (620-2048) brings a cappella faves Manhattan Transfer to Carmel on Oct. 13. What began as a concept built on tongue-and-cheek, stoner irony in the spirit of Sha Na Na grew into an institution that has been around 38 years and released 28 albums. I’m sure the original members of the vocal group never expected tunes like the doo-wop tribute “Guided Missiles” to be around any longer than Sunday’s brisket dinner. The Transfer has even picked up a couple of Grammy Awards along the way.
In the short amount of time the all-female folk supergroup honeymoon (with a lowercase ‘H’) has been together, they have made impressions on Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, guitar phenom Jackie Green and British singer-songwriter David Gray. On Oct. 16 at the Henry Miller Library, Lauren Shera, Andrea Blunt, Christina Bailey and Sara Bollwinkel will celebrate the long-awaited release of their debut EP featuring the ethereal gem, “After the Flood.”
On Oct. 16, the Monterey Symphony kicks off its 65th season of dynamic classical music at Sherwood Hall and Sunset Center with soprano Lori Guilbeau performing Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture, Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Brahms’ Symphony No.2 in D Major. The concert series (including rehearsals at Sherwood Hall in Salinas) will also bring piano duo Misha and Cepa Dichter to town on Nov. 14 and 15, and Spanish pianist Josu de Solaun in January.
It has been confirmed that the late-’80s clean-mouthed rap duo Kid ‘n Play, who are known for their youthful House Party movies, will headline a night of classic hip-hop at the Fox Theater in Salinas (758-8459). The only definite as of now, is the show will take place sometime in either October or November. Other blasts from the pasts joining them include Chubb Rock, Lisa Lisa and DJ Wiz. See you back in 1990.