Days of Lore

“A guy walks into a bar …”

“A guy walks into a bar …”

Photo By Alan Sheckter

CAM, bam, thank you, ma’am
It’s all over. The dust has settled. The El Rey is still standing. The bands rocked. Moondog danced. Moriss Taylor told jokes. I lost my dignity. Wiffle balls were hit … and missed. Awards were handed out. Awards were lost. People laughed. People cried. Corporate sponsorship limited our beer options. “M” is for “monkey.” I said monkey.

We’ll do it all over again next year. Thanks to everyone who showed up and participated.

For those who missed it, see page 46 for a list of the winners, and check out next week’s issue for a photo wrap-up of the over-the-top 2008 CAMMIES Awards Show. I think it jumpstarted the pulse of this music scene, dude!

All that jazz
I must admit I haven’t completely immersed myself in the local jazz scene; as with the blues, I’m too much of a traditionalist, in love with the drug-hazed cacophony and the smartly dressed ways of players like Coltrane and Monk. But I know there are some fantastic players in town.

One of those players, of course, is trumpeter Rocky Winslow. The long-time player and Chico State prof is taking his 17-piece Jazz X-Press to this year’s Telluride Jazz Celebration. The respected festival nestled in the small town of Telluride, Colo., is now in its 31st year, and has featured players like Herbie Hancock, Karl Denson and Chick Corea. It’s a big deal, and this year’s festival will even include a performance by pianist McCoy Tyner, who performed with the John Coltrane Quartet in the early-to-mid-’60s, including on the recording My Favorite Things.

Jazz X-Press is gearing up for the event, and will play a fundraising gig Saturday, May 10, at Nick’s Night Club. Imagine a 17-piece big band inside the cozy confines of Nick’s—that will be impressive, although I feel sorry for the sound guy.

A day in the park
Along with the warming temperatures here in Chico comes the Friday Night Concert Series, a fun, DCBA-sponsored safe haven for safe music. Look for some familiar names this year: Jeff Pershing Band, Pocket Rockets (um … I thought this was family entertainment), The Retrotones, Mystic Roots, and a couple of new ones in Three Fingers Whiskey and Marquesa Versola. Things kick off Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m. with the Alternators. Rock on!

Robert Speer circa 1977? Nope, Liam Finn in 2008.

I also looked at the schedule for Oroville’s Thursday night Concerts in the Park, and found some bands are pulling double-duty, including Spark ’n’ Cinder and the aforementioned Jeff Pershing. Rock on. Twice.

A Finn growing on me
I’ve been very upfront about my love for Neil Finn, the singer-songwriter for beloved New Zealand bands Split Enz and Crowded House. I’ll admit, I’ve been laughed at … even by a Kiwi!

Now, I’ve just given a first listen to Liam Finn’s new(ish) solo record, I’ll Be Lightening. I might love it even more than his father’s work. Warm-toned guitars, psychedelic interludes and pristine melodies abound. It’s on Yep Rock Records, and it’s good. Real good.

Rock on. Thrice.