Jazz back at the Plaza Bistro

After a week hiatus that saw country western and even rock and roll in the backroom at the Plaza Bistro, jazz is back, with the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society presenting two great shows this weekend, starting tonight, Aug. 19, with the Neil Buckley Octet. Saturday, Aug. 20, brings in a couple locals, Jason Bodlovich and Isaac Carter. The duo plays a kind of “gypsy-jazz-rock-fusion” that is really unique and showcases the talent of these two guitar players. The band has opened recently for Joe Satriani and other name acts around the Bay Area. Showtimes both nights are 7 p.m. and there is no cover.

Speaking of jazz, Sonoma Valley lost a local musician this week, when jazz saxophonist Armin Winter lost his short battle with cancer. Although he prided himself playing jazz, Winter could play any genre of music, and about any type of horn. When he sat in with us for any of the acts we were in, it almost felt like you were on Saturday Night Live and in the band, as Winter knew exactly what to play where and when to lay down an accent; he was that good. Born in Switzerland in 1950, his family steered him towards classical music and jazz, and was classically trained, but the American rock music scene was too much of a pull for Winter, and he found himself in many acts in Europe and America, most recently filling the incredibly large shoes of Jerry Garcia in the JGB, after Garcia passed away. Winter headed the band on vocals and saxophone for over five years. In addition to music, Winter was also an exceptional artist as a painter, creating large format images on canvas of legendary native American Indians, to him, as a tribute to their heritage. Winter passed away on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011 in Sonoma. That band upstairs just keeps getting better. To check out some of Winters art and music, Go Here.

Murphy’s Irish Pub welcomes the debut of Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players tonight, Aug. 19, for an 8 p.m. show. The band hails from Stockton and plays a mix of bluegrass, Americana and “old time music.” Saturday, Aug. 20, the pub has the Perfect Crime, playing folk, blues and ballads, also for an 8 p.m. start time. Sunday, Aug. 21, welcomes Arann Harris and the Farm Band for an early evening of eclectic Americana and blues, for a 6:30 p.m. show. There is no cover for any of the shows at the pub.

The third in a series of community barn dances is happening on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the United Methodist Church. The dances are called “Contra Dancing” but they are really a form of American and square dancing. Laying down the music will be Heartstrings, with Debra Tayleur on keyboard and two fiddlers, Regan Hemphill and Janette Duncan. Calling all the dances before and during will be Celia Ramsay. For more info, call 939-9999.

It’s a night of “Number One Hits” at Little Switzerland on Saturday, Aug. 20, when BackTrax will be laying down song after song of former Billboard number one hit songs from the ‘50s to the ‘90s. In addition, it is one of the local bands no cover nights at the venue, waving the cover to feature a local act. Showtime is 8 p.m. and food will be served until late hours.

The Red and White Ball is back in action and bringing in Dave Martins House Party Band to provide the entertainment on Saturday, Aug. 20. Martin’s band has rocked the event for many years, with its zany stage show and great dance tunes. The event is a benefit for the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. This year, the event is offering three levels of access, all the way from the sit-down dinner to just showing up for the dance after. For tickets and more info, call 935-9566.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards welcomes the Jami Jamison Band tonight, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the tasting room. Dinner will also be available from Community Cafe and typically sells out quick. There is no cover for the evening.

The Katmandu Corner has Sarah Summers tonight Aug. 19, for a 7:30 p.m. show. Saturday, Aug. 20, the corner welcomes Dave Aguilar and Peter McCauley, also for a 7:30 p.m. show. The duo is two-thirds of the popular act Tudo Bem. There is no cover either night.

Wildflower Weed is back at the Sonoma Community Center farmers market on Saturday, Aug. 20, kicking off at 10 a.m.

Not to be outdone, the Cork Pullers will be in the produce aisle in the Whole Foods in the Sonoma Marketplace on Saturday, Aug. 20, starting at 11 a.m.

Maya Restaurant has live music tonight, Aug. 19, with the Sean Carscadden Trio for a late show, starting at 10 p.m. There is no cover.

El Verano Inn has an interesting show on Saturday, Aug. 20, and even after getting clarification, it’s still not clear to us what exactly is going on other than music of some sort. We’re just probably not as hip as we should be. There are six acts that will take the stage, none of which are said to be DJs but they seem to have “DJ-like” names, so here we go. Headlining will be Strukture Free, with support acts being Big Weight Entertainment, 101 Entertainment, MC Catastrophe, J Rollaapzo of Virtuosos, and Padroni. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Landmark Winery and Vineyards will have the steel drum sounds of Mary Spalding in the courtyard on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m.

The Barking Dog Roasters in Boyes Hot Springs welcomes the monthly show from the Joe Chaplain Band on Saturday, Aug. 20, and this time he’ll have the Super Dogs with him. Show starts at 6 p.m.

Stephanie Ozer is on the road to the Hotel Healdsburg on Saturday, Aug. 20, for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Mad and Eddie Duran are also on the road to San Francisco tonight, Aug. 19, to Savanna Jazz for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Jon Popenoe and Tom Wolfe will be at St. Clement Winery in St. Helena on Saturday, Aug. 20, for a 1 p.m. show.

The Hellhounds return to Sonoma after 16 shows on the road, but not before one last away show, tonight, Aug. 19, in Napa at Cuvee Restaurant for a 9:30 p.m. show. Sunday, Aug. 21, the boys are on the back patio of the Swiss Hotel for a 2:30 p.m. show. There is no cover.

Hot 45s – Shows within a 45 minute drive from the Island.

Kevin Russell– Saturday, Aug. 20.
19 Broadway – Fairfax

Eric McFadden & Friends – Thursday, Aug. 25.
Mystic Theatre – Petaluma

Toad the Wet Sprocket – Friday, Aug. 20.
Uptown Theater – Napa

Brian Wilson – Thursday, Aug. 25.
Uptown Theater – Napa

Sun Kings – Beatles Tribute – Friday, Aug 19.
George’s Nightclub – San Rafael

Tommy Castro – Saturday, Aug 20.
George’s Nightclub – San Rafael

Volker Strifler – Thursday, Aug. 25.
Southern Pacific Smokehouse – Novato

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