For decades, the ignorant and/or uninitiated have dismissed jazz and blues as museum pieces. The best defense to such criticism is to note, with delicious irony, how the genres will drive the lively, accessible festivities Friday night at two Bay Area museums.
VNote Ensemble headlines the weekend-starting Friday Nights at the de Young in San Francisco. The group performs a “fascinating fusion of Venezuelan folk music with adventurous jazz. Original compositions, keen arrangements and great musicianship blend to deliver a unique sound.” VNote is comprise of Jackeline Rago (Venezuelan cuatro, percussion, vocals), Donna Viscuso (flute), Sam Bevan (bass) and Michaelle Goerlitz (percussion). The event also features hands-on art making in the de Young lobby, extended exhibit hours and a guest lecture.
You can expect more of a party scene Friday night at the Oakland Museum of California. That’s fitting, seeing as how the Lovelight Blues Band performs from 7-9 p.m.
Dee Washington brings the roughest, toughest bluesman-stuffest vibe. This imposing frontman walks the walk and preaches the talk with the raw power that come straight outta Richmond. Saxman Al Choir Lazard, whose soaring harmonies raise the specter of New Orleans above the Bay waters, rips the levers off his sax solos with the ruthless rhythm of a boiling kettle of black cat bone. Axeman Brent Stewart's searing strings both serenade and scream with tube driven groove. The Great Bearded One, Paul's counterpoints on bass drive the funk. Scotty Wild crashes through the sound barrier with the steady roll of a man born at the crossroads of rock and gumbo.
Some hyperbole there, I grant you. Here are the details on what you also can expect Friday night.
Gourmet food trucks from Off the Grid featuring the best in local cuisine. Local beer and wine specials in the Blue Oak beer garden. DJ Dotmatic spinning funky soul and jazz (5-7 p.m.). Family-friendly drop-in workshop with hands-on bridge building activity (5-8 p.m.) Makers & Tasters Series with Paige Icardi of Ferments and Flour with an herb butter-making demonstration and a tasting of her herb shortbread cookies (6-8 p.m.). Swing and Lindy Hop dance lesson with Karen and Michael in the amphitheater (6:30-7 p.m). Extended hours in the galleries and special exhibitions. The East Bay Express lounge where you can take it all in.
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