All that jazz

It seems that jazz has had something of a resurgence in Sacramento in recent years. Even some traditionally rock-oriented venues have started regular jazz nights. At the forefront of this renewed interest in jazz was the Northern California Modern Jazz Association (NCMJA). The NCMJA formed a few years ago to promote jazz events in the Sacramento area but then quickly disbanded. The dissolution of the NCMJA called into question the future of an event that had become quite popular, the association’s Sunday Evening Jazz series. Those who have kept up on jazz, though, know that the series has continued despite the disappearance of its parent organization.

Local jazz singer Vivian Lee’s Scarlett Productions—along with various members of the former NCMJA, including guitarist Glenn Hair—have taken charge of the Sunday series, moving it from its original location at The Stockmarket restaurant to Savanna’s Lounge, located inside the Red Lion Hotel at 1401 Arden Way, directly next to Arden Fair Mall. In many ways, Savanna’s is a much better location for the series. It fosters a classy nightclub feel, and that ambience is conducive to the style of shows the Sunday Evening Jazz series tends to book.

Those bookings tend toward traditional jazz—as exemplified by last weekend’s performance by jazz vocalist and Sacramento native Linda Regan. Regan’s two sets drew from a collection of sturdy jazz standards, each of which was met with a sprinkling of appreciative applause as she crooned the opening lines. It was a nostalgic, straight-ahead set. (Younger fans might have called it “retro.”) The performance was very much in keeping with an audience that appeared, by and large, to be a musically conservative group. Check out or call (916) 723-5517 for more information about Sunday Evening Jazz.

Jazz fans who want to broaden their Sunday activities will be able to extend their swing further into the evening hours with jazz guitarist Ross Hammond’s new weekly jazz jam. Look for that starting February 20 at Old Ironsides. Meanwhile, Hammond’s jazz-improv project, Race!!! Quintet, has just released a new CD called Travels. The disc also features Scott Anderson, Tony Pasarell, Tom Monson and Erik Kleven. Check for more information.

Also in the mailbox is The World Needs Convincing of All That’s Missing, the new release from alt-rockers Five Minute Ride. Fans might recall that the band suffered the tragic loss of its guitarist last year. The new CD will be released officially by Rise Records on February 15.

Lastly, The Legend is a new, free, pocket-sized magazine focused on Sacramento’s hip-hop and urban-jazz scene, with an emphasis on music and style. Surprisingly professional, The Legend is available at most of the hipper clothing and music stores inside and outside the grid (and in Elk Grove, Davis, Roseville, Stockton and Berkeley). And, if you’ll allow a quick return to the topic of jazz, The Legend also co-sponsors the weekly Jazz Fly at Capitol Garage, located at 1500 K Street. DJs spin jazz records from 9 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. every Thursday. Admission is $5.