Top 40 radio played the instrumental “Grazing in the Grass” to death in 1968. Many adventurous music fans got to see South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela the year before right here. Masekela and his band were featured performers at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. He also provided the trumpet solo for The Byrds’ “So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star”. Fast forward to an incredibly diverse career – helping to free Nelson Mandela, joining Paul Simon on the breakthrough world music of “Graceland”, working on the Broadway musical “Sarafina”, writing his biography – and you begin to see what a treasure Hugh Masekela has been to the world of music and South African culture. Join his 75th Birthday Celebration at the intimate Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz Monday, March 24th. Showtimes are 7 and 9 pm; best get tickets in advance for this birthday party.
Scott Hansen, also known as synth ambient electronic music producer Tycho, has just released his second LP. Once strictly a solo project, Tycho has now evolved into a three-piece band providing plenty of energy and euphoria at their live shows. Their debut performance in Santa Cruz will take place at The Catalyst on March 19th. Showtime is 9 pm…or so.
How can you go wrong with a name like “Pour House” on today’s holiday? They will cap off your St. Patrick’s Day with a variety of Irish songs, jigs and sing-alongs, adding a fresh twist to tunes from Irish artists like Van Morrison, The Pogues, Waterboys and others tonight at special Crepe Place gig. The revery may begin sooner, but the pour from Pour House will start around 9 pm.
“Extra large what?” Well, this isn’t a “what”, it’s a “who”. Local favorites Extra Large have been called “uniquely Santa Cruz” by serving up their supersized sound of reggae, Latin, hip-hop, funk, and rock for years. Voted “Best Band” for many years by Santa Cruz Weekly and Good Times readers, Extra Large blends original material with creative takes on covers that are so funky you just gotta dance. Find out in person when Extra Large plays at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton Saturday, March 15th. Showtime is 7 pm. Check out this selection from their first album “Dance to the Spin” https://soundcloud.com/vlealxl/dance-to-the-spin
The weekend-long Spring Brookdale Bluegrass Festival has moved 25 miles up the coast from Santa Cruz to Pescadero, CA, north of Año Nuevo State Park on Highway 1 to the Costanoa Lodge. Concerts start at 5:00pm on Friday evening March 7, 2014 followed by all-night jamming. Pete Wernick and Jean Butterfield will lead workshops Saturday morning, followed by more concerts and non-stop jamming. The festival will conclude with an open mic on Sunday morning. Performers include Pete & Joan Wernick, David Thom and Jim Lewin, the Naked Bootleggers, Bill Evans, Cactus Bob & Prairie Flower, Regina Bartlett and Friends, The Stoney Mountain Ramblers, The Tuttles with A.J. Lee (sans Molly Tuttle who is away at college), and many others. Tickets are available for all or part of the weekend, as is lodging. No worries about the weather, as performances will be indoors as needed.
If you haven’t seen The White Album Ensemble, you should. They reproduce music that The Beatles recorded but did not perform (“Rubber Soul” through “Abbey Road” albums). The Kuumbwa Jazz Center, with its great acoustics and grand piano, provide a perfect setting for an intimate concert of Beatles songs “unplugged” – acoustic instruments with an accent on vocals and harmonies. Special guests include vocalists Tammi Brown and Alysha Antonino along with percussionist Steve Robertson. The White Album Ensemble’s “Beatles Unplugged” show comes to the Kuumbwa in downtown Santa Cruz Friday, March 14th at 8 pm.
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