Selected highlights of the 2010 Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee
With more than 450 sets of live music, not to mention master classes, parades, contests and more, the 37th Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee offers an almost overwhelming range of choices. But fear not. While we can’t list everything here, we can offer a few thoughts on the events we’re most looking forward to.
All-event passes are available for $110 for adults 21 and over, and $50 for youth ages 7 to 20. Per-day tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for youth ages 7 to 20 (kids 6 and under are free). On Friday, one-day admission prices are just $15 for youth and $35 for adults.
And, of course, tickets for the party events are just $10 from 8:30 p.m. on.
Opening Day Parade
Friday, May 28: 11:45 a.m., Old Sacramento
If even the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee’s modest ticket prices seem like too much this year, there are plenty of free events going on that can help make your Memorial Day weekend one to remember. First and foremost, there’s the Opening Day Parade. Get there early for a good vantage point to see the jazz bands, marching bands, fire trucks, cakewalk strutters, military color guards and general rigmarole as the festival gets underway. Want to know more? Visit www.sacjazz.com for a complete listing of festival events.
Arbors “Statesmen of Jazz”
Saturday, May 29: 11:30 a.m., Firehouse Courtyard, 1112 Second Street; 2:30 p.m., Hyatt Ballroom, 1209 I Street; 7 p.m., Holiday Inn Ballroom, 300 J Street; Sunday, May 30: 4 p.m., Embassy Suites Ballroom, 100 Capitol Mall; 10 p.m., Holiday Inn Ballroom
For all the talk about the need to update and repackage the jazz fest, the event just wouldn’t be complete without plenty of traditional jazz. If the swinging, old-school styles of Benny Goodman and Sidney Bechet are what you’re looking for, then don’t miss the Arbors “Statesmen of Jazz,” a touring ensemble of senior musicians who perform and give clinics in the schools with the sponsorship of Arbors Records, a label devoted to trad jazz. The group features an international lineup, including well-known clarinetist Bob Wilber in a seven-piece ensemble. These guys may be seniors, but they’re playing five sets in two days, so there’s no excuse for missing out.
Drexel University Jazz Master Class Series
Saturday, May 29: 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Drexel University, 1 Capitol Mall;Sunday, May 30: 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., Drexel University
One of the most admirable aspects of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society has been its long dedication to jazz education. And this year’s festival includes a Drexel Jazz Master Class Series, a new series featuring renowned musicians dropping science on swing, ragtime, blues and more. The classes, offered in collaboration with Drexel University at the school’s Old Sacramento facility, feature Frederick Hodges’ lecture on ragtime (1 p.m. Saturday), SherriLynn Colby-Bottel on New Orleans (2:30 p.m. Saturday), Mick Martin on blues (1 p.m. Sunday), Kyle Smith on swing dancing (2:30 p.m. Sunday) and Joe Gilman on jazz (4 p.m. Sunday).
Molly Ringwald Quintet
Saturday, May 29: 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Hyatt Ballroom
If you spent any part of your teens in the 1980s, you don’t need to be told who Molly Ringwald is. A “Brat Pack” mainstay, her starring roles in films including The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and 16 Candles made her a generational icon. Unbeknownst to most of her clove-smoking fans of yore, Ringwald was also a singer who cut her teeth at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, where according to legend she stood on a chair at age 3 to sing with her father, Bob Ringwald, a longtime Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society member and excellent pianist. Ringwald has had an ongoing acting career that has included successful runs on Broadway and a long list of movie credits, and she’s still singing, too, generally performing Great American Songbook material. In her return to the jazz fest, she’ll perform standards backed by a quartet of piano, sax, bass and drums.
The Rhythm Vandals “Santana Tribute”
Saturday, May 29: 10 p.m., Firehouse Lot, corner of Front and L streets
Need more proof that the STJS folks are determined to shake things up this year? This year’s festival includes a “Santana Tribute” by the Rhythm Vandals, the long-running and popular classic-rock band that has opened for Tower of Power, War, Lou Rawls and others; and headlined concerts, casinos and club dates around Northern California and Lake Tahoe. Their “Santana Tribute” show features an expanded lineup with congas, timbales and horns, and Carlos Santana-style guitar heroics.
Western Swing Party
Saturday, May 29: 7 p.m., Riverfront Refuge, Front Street between K and L streets
For too long, jazz presenters have tended to overlook western swing, that curious amalgamation of jazz, cowboy music, polka, blues and swing that popped up like an unruly dust devil in the rural Southwest during the ’30s and packed dance floors from Abilene to Bakersfield on through the ’50s. The STJS aims to set things straight with a Western Swing Party featuring the two groups from Texas—the Quebe Sisters Band, featuring the vocal harmonies and fiddle playing of Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe; and headliner Billy Mata & the Texas Tradition, longtime keepers of the flame who’ve been playing the sounds of Bob Wills, Johnny Bush, Mel Tillis and the like for decades. Show up early and you can catch Hal Smith’s Hayriders and their Tribute to ‘the Killer’: Jerry Lee Lewis’ 75th Birthday at 5:30 p.m. Did somebody say “Hot damn!”?
Joe Getty & the Dead Flowers
Saturday, May 29: 10 p.m., Freeway Gardens, underneath Interstate 5, near the Old Sacramento entrance tunnel
You can’t always get what you want. But if you’re a rock fan at the Sacramento jazz fest, you can get what you need. Sacramento quintet Joe Getty & the Dead Flowers play rock in the guitar-driven, rootsy tradition of the vintage Rolling Stones, with echoes of the Faces, Jayhawks, Wilco and Cracker thrown in for good measure. It’s only rock ’n’ roll, and you’ll like it.
Swing Dance Contest & Evening Swing Dance
Sunday, May 30: 11:30 a.m. (preliminaries), 4 p.m. (finals), 7 p.m. Evening Swing Dance, Hyatt Ballroom
Even if you don’t know anything more about swing dancing than what you’ve picked up from Gap ads and Dancing With the Stars, you know this: Watching expert lindy hoppers do their thing is a high-voltage, exuberant spectacle filled with more athletic leaps and spins than your typical Kings’ game these days. In the past, the Sacramento Jazz Festival’s swing-dance contest has drawn dancers from all over the country and packed the Hyatt Ballroom. This year’s event will feature live music (for the finals) by Dr. Bach and the Jazz Practitioners, as well as an Evening Swing Dance with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums, and the Loose Marbles. Whether you come to dance or to gawk at the jaw-dropping acrobatics, the joint’s going to be jumpin’, and you need to get there early.
Sunday, May 30: 7 p.m., Firehouse Lot
Since at least the 1940s, when the improvisational bravura of jazz first fused with the polyrhythmic intensity of Afro-Caribbean music in the bands of musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, Latin music has been an important—and exciting—part of the jazz tradition. This year, the Sacramento Jazz Festival is hosting its first-ever Latin Party, featuring traditional Mexican music from Mariachi Los Gallos, the hot new Latin jazz-salsa quartet La Descarga!, and headliners Ray Obiedo & Mambo Caribe, a group featuring guitarist/composer Obiedo and an array of excellent Bay Area jazz musicians playing a traditional West Coast Latin jazz style.
Capital Jazz Project
Sunday, May 30: 7 p.m., Sheraton Grand Nave Ballroom, 1230 J Street
You say you want the real deal? Just good, solid, contemporary mainstream jazz played by the cream of the local crop? Then don’t miss Capital Jazz Project, featuring pianist Joe Gilman, drummer Rick Lotter, guitarist Henry Robinett, bassist Kerry Kashiwagi, and saxophonist Mike McMullen. These guys are all great players, and local aficionados don’t need to be told that CJP performances are always special events. The group, which typically performs themed concerts focusing on a given composer or featuring a special guest musician, haven’t announced any particular agenda for this show, so this may be a rare opportunity to hear these outstanding musicians just play whatever the heck they feel like playing, and that’s the way it should be.