All you garage fans will finally have something to Dwyer-yip about in the New Year. The Crepe Place is playing host to not one, not two, but three killer bands. Orange County western lo-fi outfit The Abigails top the bill as they gear up for the release of their album “Tundra” on Burger Records. San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls are quite familiar with the stage at Santa Cruz’s alternative pancake restaurant. Their debut album was the third most-played new release in 2013 at KZSC; they are sure to feature some tracks off their upcoming Sonny (Sonny and the Sunsets) produced second LP. Los Angeles’ Froth rounds out the bill with burning, organ-grinding psychedelic jams. So throw on your denim jacket, polish up the buttons and join the throngs at The Crepe Place, Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz on Saturday, January 25th. The noise starts at 9 pm.
Santa Cruz’s own Ladies of Mehana hula halau are hosting a Santa Cruz movie premiere by writer/director Keo Woolford, shot on location in Hawai’i. “The Haumana” (The Student) is an indie charmer, the story of Jonny Kealoha, who is working a Waikiki Polynesian revue when he is appointed successor to a high school boys’ hula class. It’s a movie by Hawaiians, about Hawai’i for Hawai’i…and for all of us to see. (Spoiler Alert: watch for the famous and much beloved singer Marlene Sai acting in this movie!). There will be a question & answer session with the film’s director after the feature. “The Haumana” premieres Sunday, January 19th at The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. The box office opens at 3:3o; hula and other pre-show entertainment begins at 4:30 pm; the film rolls at 5.
The hosts of “Stirrin’ the Soup” had the pleasure of hosting two members from the Chicago-based group known as the John Hanrahan Quartet last week. John (the leader/drummer, now based in Santa Cruz) and his longtime bandmate/tenor saxophonist Brian Kephart, joined us for an exciting discussion about their show at Kuumbwa Jazz. When I heard that this group was going to perform Coltrane’s magnum opus A Love Supreme, I was impressed at the ambition of these guys – I mean, what a piece to tackle! Here’s the crazy part: these guys meet up transnationally from Chicago to Santa Cruz every few years to play A Love Supreme without rehearsal, straight from the heart and from the top of the head. I went to their show and can say with unmatched certainty that these guys are amazing. Brian absolutely tears it up on the tenor sax and the rest of the band carries the tunes phenomenally. There was something special happening inside the Jazz Center that night; several attendees of the show reported sharing a feeling of spiritual connection to the music throughout the performance. Not quite speechless, but I can only express so much via text so please, find a comfy chair, sit back, relax and check out our discussion about the music we call “Jazz” if you like, and I hope you find it as stimulating as we did. Disclaimer: It’s a long one.
John McCutcheon makes his annual visit to Santa Cruz, in a benefit concert for the Resource Center for Nonviolence in their concert hall on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:30pm. John is a well-regarded folk musician who is a songwriter, storyteller, singer, and multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, banjo, guitar, hammered dulcimer) and has recorded over 30 albums for adults and kids, receiving multiple Grammy nominations. His tunes and songs range from the traditional to poignant stories that relate to political and socially conscious issues. Folk music is featured on KZSC’s Backroads show, every Sunday from noon-2pm.
The Hillbillies from Mars will be landing at the Felton Community Hall for the first Sunday of the month Contra Dance sponsored by the non-profit Santa Cruz Traditional Dancers on January 5, 2014 at 7:00pm. The Hillbillies are a favorite dance band from the San Francisco Bay Area that’s been together since 1982, combining elements of Celtic and American traditional fiddle music blended with some swing, Latin and African rhythms to keep your feet moving. The band includes interstellar musicians Kevin Carr (fiddle, bagpipes, accordion, banjo), Ray Bierl (fiddle, guitar), Paul Kotapish (mandolin, guitar, percussion), and Daniel Steinberg (keyboards, flute, percussion). Susan Petrick will be prompting the dances. While you can pick up the dance moves on the fly, you’re welcome to attend a newcomers orientation session at 6:40pm for a head start. The tradition of contra dancing involves frequent changes of partners and movements with everyone in the room, so you’re welcome to come alone or bring a friend.
Pharaoh Sanders got his start playing with Sun Ra and rose to fame in John Coltrane’s group. With that company, it’s only natural that he would rise to cultural significance. Possessing one of the most distinctive tenor saxophone tones in jazz, Sanders’ intense phrasing has become a touchstone of free-jazz. His classic 1960’s and 70’s albums have cultivated legions of followers worldwide. Making a rare stop in Santa Cruz with his current quartet, Pharaoh Sanders visits the intimate Kuumbwa Jazz Center for two shows Monday, January 6th. Showtimes are 7 & 9 pm.