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.
If there’s a more well-known instrumental from the 1960s than “Green Onions” we haven’t heard it. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Booker T. Jones and his band, Booker T. & The M.G.s were a staple of radio with hit instrumentals. They also helped define the Stax record label sound by serving as a backup band for many important soul singers including Otis Redding. When the M.G.s went their separate ways, Jones went on to producing, composing, and collaborating with new groups. Don’t expect only the oldies at this show; his latest album Sound The Alarm (with Gary Clark Jr) features Jones at his most soulful in years. It’s a Hammond B-3 sound fest as the Kuumbwa Jazz Center proudly presents Booker T. for two shows, 7 and 9 pm, Monday, January 20th. Don’t miss an opportunity to see a musical legend in such an intimate venue.
The end of December is full of music events in the Santa Cruz area that you won’t want to miss. “Winter Solstice” which includes Barbara Higbie, Liz Story, Lisa Lynne, George Tortorelli and Aryeh Frankfurter is a holiday music event at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center Friday, December 21st that will surely make you feel festive. Sunday, December 23rd, check out the sophisticated modern jazz duo The Le Boeuf Brothers at Don Quixote’s in Felton, followed by the guitar stylings of Peppino D’Agostino on Thursday December 27th. Finally, head down to the Rio Theatre on December 29th or 30th to see the White Album Ensemble perform The Beatles’ “Revolver” and “Let it Be” albums note-for-note. More Beatles for New Years Eve with The Sun Kings at Don Quixote’s starting at 9 pm.