Free jazz and the return of Davis rock
Sacramento is not a jazz town. Well, OK, it’s more of a jazz town than Salt Lake City, which ironically has a team named the “Jazz.” Former NBA power forward Wayman Tisdale once played for the Kings, and in recent years, he’s made a name as a smooth-jazz bassist. And Sacramento has a long-running Memorial Day weekend trad-jazz festival, which has morphed throughout the years into a venue for blues, zydeco and other forms of jazz. Finally, Sacramento has been home to a few of the music’s giants. A few years ago, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and John Tchicai lived in the area; both of them played on John Coltrane’s landmark 1965 album Ascension. And Hammond B-3 giant Jimmy Smith lived here, too.
Still, 52nd Street this town ain’t. But that doesn’t stop local musicians who like to play the stuff.
And, jazz town or not, on Sunday, September 7, the Race!!! Quintet will be playing the True Love Coffeehouse at 2406 J Street. It’s an all-ages show, and there’s no cover. The quintet features former Sardonics guitarist Ross Hammond, Broun Fellinis horn man David Boyce, Supplicants drummer Sameer Gupta, area bassist extraordinaire Erik Kleven (who’s played with countless locals, including non-jazz mainstay Anton Barbeau) and tenor saxophonist Scott Anderson.
The following Saturday, September 13, the Ross Hammond Trio will play Luna’s Café, 1414 16th Street, as part of Luna’s monthly Second Saturday jazz series. Guitarist Hammond and drummer Gupta will be joined by bassist Gerry Pineda, another local giant of the low-end rumble. The show starts at 9 p.m., after most of the galleries close. It’s all-ages, and the cover is $6.
Last Sunday, local musician Natalie Cortez hosted an all-day outdoor show in her North Sacramento backyard. By the time this narcoleptic scribe showed up, the Teds were just going on. “Hey, you just missed us,” Warren Bishop said, laughing. Yeah, not to mention a dozen other bands and guest acts. One of those, Los Cuatros Estebans, the scribe had been lucky enough to catch the night before, sandwiched between headliner Harvester and opening band Sudden Oak Death at Old Ironsides.
Anyway, at Old Ironsides, the four Steves, fronted by Steve Bryant of Chance the Gardener and Toadmortons fame, played a solid set of intelligent rock that ranged from tastefully elegant to delightfully unhinged. It embodied everything great about Davis’ much-missed rock scene. They’re certainly a welcome addition.