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

Halloween party time in Sonoma Valley

As if the typical characters of Sonoma Valley aren’t enough every day, just factor in an excuse to become even more of a character; an alter ego perhaps, and an event like Halloween. Then throw in a costume contest, live music and a tavern or two, and look out. Many venues are having celebrations this weekend; we’ll kick off the column with the rundown of all the weekends’ events. Tonight, Oct. 29, has vocalist Dana Land putting down jazz standards at the Plaza Bistro, and there will be a costume contest as well. Showtime is 7 p.m. Ten Foot Tone will be at the El Verano Inn for their annual appearance on Saturday, Oct. 30, with a costume contest and what has been promised as “spooky dancing.” Showtime is 9 p.m. BackTrax rock band will headline Steiners Tavern for their annual Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 9 p.m. Little Switzerland will have it’s annual party featuring some of the best punk rock in the north bay on Saturday, Oct. 30, featuring Modern Action, with members of the Bodies and the Briefs, Roadside Bombs, Get Dead, Oil!, High and Tight, the Porch Junkies and Scotch Eggs. That show gets underway at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, brings Showcase the Band to Lokal for a 2 p.m. show. Murphy’s Irish Pub has the Cork Pullers for their annual Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 31, for a 6 p.m. start. The Blue Moon Saloon will have the Sunday Night Blues Jam on Sunday, Oct. 31, and will have a costume contest that winners will receive cash prizes for the best costume, as well as drink specials for all costumed attendees. The show kicks off at 9 p.m.

Sonoma Valley lost a true supporter of local music recently. Michael J. Kelley, who was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident over a year ago, lost his battle for recovery to a bout of pneumonia on Sunday, Oct. 17, surrounded by friends. There will be a memorial and fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Sonoma Valley Womans Club, kicking off at 4 p.m. After a short ceremony, many local musicians will gather for a song or two to remember Michael. The details are still being sorted out, but so far have Pete Olson, Sue Albano and Mark Dennis, Greg Volker, David Robbins and Dave Aguilar lined up. Anyone that knew Michael J. Kelley is welcome to attend.

Jess Petty and Ken Chambers will be at the Ledson Lounge on the Plaza tonight, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards will have EZ Kewl tonight, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m.

The Lodge at Sonoma has John Groves in the piano lounge tonight, Oct. 29, for a 7 p.m. show. Saturday, Oct. 30, brings John MacKay to the lounge. MacKay, originally from Canada and now making his home in New Zealand, is also an active composer and involved in different musical genres, including jazz, contemporary classical and theatre music. That show is also at 7 p.m. and there is no cover for either show.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have Out of the Blue tonight, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, has Keystone Station from Marin County, playing traditional bluegrass in the style of Bill Monroe. That show is also at 8 p.m.

Olive & Vine will have blues from the Rett Hamer Band tonight, Oct. 29, for a 7 p.m. show. Olive & Vine is in Glen Ellen within the Jack London Village and offers small plates and has a nice wine selection. There is no cover for the show.

EZ Kewl is making the rounds this weekend as well, starting with a show tonight, Oct. 29, at Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards for a 6:30 p.m. start. You can also catch the hardest working band in Sonoma Valley at the Schellville Grill on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a dinner set.

Mondo American Beer Garden has the eclectic sounds of the Ralph Cetola Experience on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 7 p.m. show. You never know who may show up to play with Cetola, including Cetola, but he always puts on a great show. The extravaganza kicks off at 7 p.m.

Steiners Tavern has the Sean Carscadden Trio tonight, Oct. 29, for a 10 p.m. show. With Carscadden will be Andrew Emer on stand-up bass and J. B. Duff on drums. There is no cover for the show.

Lokal will have the sounds of the Erik Lindquist Trio on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 6:30 p.m. show. Lindquist grew up here in Sonoma Valley and has recently returned from Los Angeles. Lokal offers a nice selection of beers on tap and describes the menu as “European Soul Food.” There is no cover for the show.

There is an interesting show coming up the Trinity Church on Sunday. Oct. 31, at 2 p.m. A series of twenty four unique chamber music concerts being performed over a period of two years, each concert focuses on composers whose last names begin with a featured letter, from a to z. The series rolls into Sonoma Valley with concert number ten featuring the letter “J.” Admission is by donation, and part of the proceeds will benefit the church. The “J” concert will include three compositions, one from 1950 and two from 2010, by Sonoma resident, composer and pianist Warner Jepson, and will also feature the music of Leos Janacek (1854-1928), Paul Juon (1872-1940) and more. For more info, call the church at 938-4846.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will be welcoming back a favorite son on Monday, Nov. 1, when Whitney Lockert swings back into town from New York City. Since it’s knitting night, you can still knit, just to music. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Jon Popenoe will be at the Lagunitas Tap Room in Petaluma on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 3 p.m. show.