Sweet Dixie Debuts
The 32nd annual Jazz Bash by the Bay celebrates Dixieland with several new faces.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
There will be many familiar sounds returning to the Jazz Bash by the Bay, including the vintage blues of the Big Mama Sue Quartet, the humor-laden ragtime of the Titan Hot Seven and the Broadway-adoring tunes of the Ivory & Gold trio. But this year, Dixieland Monterey Bay has several new tricks up its sleeves, beginning with the dedication of an entire venue (the Conference Center’s Colton Room) to ragtime. Piano-fueled sets by everyone from the Crown Syncopators to York School alum Grant Somerville will run throughout the weekend.
Some other fresh faces making first-time Jazz Bash appearances:
The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet
Django Reinhardt will live on forever as the face and sound of gypsy jazz. But it wasn’t until Argentinean Gonzalo Bergara saw Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown that the legend popped up on his radar.
“That’s when I started paying attention to the gypsy style,” Bergara says.
When he moved to Los Angeles he met three other musicians who dug the style as much as him.
“We have the perfect combination of musicianship and attitude,” he says.
The quartet’s latest album Portea Soledad is a platter of gypsy, Piazzolla music, 1950s jazz, Brazilian choro and bossa nova. The spicy LP was an Editor’s Pick in Guitar Player and helped earn the band the title Best Jazz Group in the city from Los Angeles Magazine.
Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band
In 1962, Wisconsin native and longtime cornet player Bob Schulz joined the Army National Guard 32nd Division Band. One of the functions the band played was a reception for astronaut John Glenn. But Schulz truly blasted off when he was introduced to Dixieland and ragtime while performing with the Riverboat Ramblers. It seems to allow Schulz the freedom to be himself. “I don’t know much about chords or theory,” he says. “I rely on my ears.”
The Barehanded Wolfchokers
Founding member Dave “The Mighty Bison” Gannett of Davenport, Iowa, a longtime musician for Walt Disney Productions, makes some serious waves on the helicon, a brass instrument from the tuba family. Over the years, he has appeared with everyone from Bob Hope and Bette Midler to Henry Mancini and Dave Brubeck. His group encourages any kind of audience participation and packs its shows with surprises.
Side Street Strutters Jazz Band
Twenty-five years ago, a group of musicians found one another at Arizona State University. Along with talent, the septet shared something else: A love for early New Orleans jazz. Along with having their music appear in Pirates of the Caribbean and Pixar’s Up, the Strutters have played in the White House and all 50 states in the country.
JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY is 11am-11:30pm Friday, March 2; 10am-11:30pm Saturday, March 3; 9am-4:30pm Sunday, March 4, at Monterey Conference Center, 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey. $99 all events; $47 Friday; $62 Saturday; $47 Sunday. 675-0298, www.dixieland-monterey.com