It’s time for another musical Valentine this weekend. As Shakespeare put it, “If music be the food of love, play on.” With the lover’s holiday falling on a Friday, well, the marketing departments typically stretch things out.
We’ll get to that, but first let’s talk jazz, and a homecoming of sorts. Humboldt County jazz legend, pianist Jerry Moore, returns to the Morris Graves Museum for Sunday’s Wine and Jazz on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. As they tell me, “Jerry will be accompanied by his favorite local rhythm section of bassist Baron Wolfe and drummer Bill Mohenke,” two legends in their own write.
After retiring to Marin County after 35 years teaching at College of the Redwoods, Jerry’s visits are infrequent, but he definitely has a history here. “Over the past 70 years it would be difficult to find anyone more actively engaged in the promotion of ‘Americas Classical Music’ as Mr. Moore. First as a music student at Humboldt State College (now HSU) where in the early ’50s, he lobbied a department notoriously resistant to change to permit the formation of jazz ensembles, and later went on to earn a teaching credential.”
On the family front, Jerry spawned a couple of fine musicians, saxophonist Michael Moore, a top improviser in Holland, and our own Gregg Moore, leader of Bandemonium, and a primal force in the music scene.
Jerry joined the faculty of College of the Redwoods in the ’60s, while on the side he was playing jazz in local now-defunct clubs like The Keg in Northtown and Vance Log Cabin in Old Town, where he jammed with other music educators like Jim Westman, Dan Gurnee and Don Mohenke, father of Bill. (See above.)
Before retiring in the ’90s, the honorable Jerry was honored by the California Music Educators Association with the California Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition for his work in encouraging a holistic approach to music education.” (His style in holistic.)
Do you play jazz? Traditionally Wine and Jazz is a jam session “open to all comers.” Bring your axe.
It perhaps makes sense in this modern world, but a few years ago, Valentine’s Day was re-branded as V-Day, “a global movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence).” Meanwhile, “the rise of misogynist, authoritarian regimes the world over — from the United States to the Philippines, India to Brazil — has recalibrated the work, further escalating the urgency with which we feel compelled to fight for gender, climate, economic and racial justice.”
Locally for V-Day, they are planning their part in 1 Billion Rising 2020 on the Arcata Plaza. “The time to get out and rock the Plaza is here again. Join us and the global community to rise up in dance to say ‘NO’ to violence and injustice in our community and around the world. V-Day Humboldt and other support organizations will be providing information,” as they rise up and dance to the original song, “Break the Chain,” with special choreography. That all starts at 1 p.m. V-Day, Friday, Feb. 14, on the Plaza. Come early to check out the tabling. Be informed.
By chance, the LOVE holiday falls on the same day as Arts! Arcata. On the music front (from 6-9 p.m.) you’ll find Kenny Ray and the Mighty Rovers at Garden Gate, with wine sales benefiting a good cause, Healthcare for All/Physicians for a National Health Program. Arising Holistic Center has music by Icarus and Suns. Movewell has Nesta on guitar with poetry. Bayside lawyers Stokes, Hamer, Kirk & Eads have jazzy flute by Wynsome Winds, wine sales Relay for Life Team #32 for the American Cancer Society.
At The Sanctuary that night they’re hosting “Artcata, ASAP,” part of a “Conversation Piece Series” curated by Katie Belknap and Solomon Lowenstein, who are at the center of Sanctuary. In turn, the conversation is part of a larger initiative aimed at creating a vibrant cultural city agency of some sort, that would bring in the Creamery District, the South’o’G Marsh District and things like the Sanctuary and the Vets Hall under a unified vision.
I talked about all of that briefly with Katie at the big Ten Pin Latin Peppers show, and she asked if I might contribute some photos to help start “conversation,” but I’ve been overly busy with other projects and, frankly, I lagged. Then there was a chat with Gillen Martin, who’s working for the City of Arcata on art matters. (Remember her from the Laurel Skye Project?) She showed up at the 20/20 Vision Photo Show at the Graves (one of the projects that distracted me) and spoke about working with the Playhouse folks and the Sanctuary peeps doing signage “and more” for “Artcata.”
Personally, I would like to see my city take a far more active role in cultural promotion and coordination, but only if the planning part doesn’t get unwieldy with committees and task forces and meeting after meeting where nothing gets done. It could potentially take months to decide, for example, whether we really need an exclamation mark in the middle of Arts! Arcata. Anyway, I promised I would help with the arts initiative, and I will — when I get time.
And speaking of cultural affairs. Near to the Sanctuary, at the Vets Hall, the February Folklife Barn Dance is that same Friday, Valentine’s Day, with the usual crew: Caller Lyndsey Battle teaching (square) dances and Striped Pig Stringband playing the tunes. “This is a family-friendly, community event and all are welcome. No experience or partner needed. Snacks and refreshments available.” Doors at 6:30, dancing at 7 p.m. Reduced price admission for Humboldt Folklife Society and Arcata Playhouse members, and get this: seniors, students, veterans and children 12 and under all FREE. Hey, that includes me!
Also part of Arts! Arcata, my friend Tommy Hernandez of Homeboldt® has The Jacoby Silent Disco starting at 6 p.m. at his place in the lobby of the Jacoby Storehouse, with Goldylocks, The Middle Agent and Blancatron providing electro-dance music.
If you’ve never experienced silent disco before, you borrow headphones and the dance music goes straight into your ears without disturbing the neighbors. As Tommy puts it, “Let’s get down and not make a scene!!!”
In the past, the headphones have offered a choice of channels, so you can toggle between sounds. I suggested adding an ambient channel (with me as curator) using music in the quiet side from my son’s band Visible Cloaks, plus his Grammy-nominated album Kankyō Ongaku and tracks from the associated three Japanese albums reissued by his label, Empire of Signs. Tommy wasn’t planning on a second channel, but he loved the idea, and if he can work out the tech side, you may hear the first mix from DJ Bob.
Downstairs in the Basement that A!A night (at 8 p.m.) they have Planet Four. Who dat? I’m not sure, and the Basement p.r. doesn’t say much.
A little research showed me my old friend Andrew Barnett is involved. He’s the leader of the Garberville Town Band and trumpet player for Latin Peppers, and since he was also heavily involved in Planet Humboldt, last year’s colloquium celebrating Alexander von Humboldt 250th birthday, well, my educated guess says it’s a Humboldt-inspired jazz quartet, or whatever. Also at the Basement that weekend, “A Night of Hip Hop” Wednesday (Feb. 12) with unknown participants, guitarist Duncan Burgess fronting a trio on Thursday (Feb. 13), and on Saturday, blues and jazz with Moon Segue with Lizzy on vocals.
Out in Blue Lake at the Blue Lake Casino’s Sapphire Palace, it’s a Valentine’s Day special with The Killer Queens, allegedly “the world’s only all-female tribute to Queen evoking all the glam, sparkle, power, and soaring melodies of Freddie” and co. “at the height of their musical and commercial dominance.” They will, they will, rock you.
In the Wave Lounge Friday, they have rockers from Redding, The Stone Hearts. Saturday, it’s Joel: The Band, with a tribute to Billy Joel. (Why not?)
At HumBrews Saturday, Feb. 15, we have “legendary blues and soul giant” Tommy Castro and The Painkillers with former local Michael Emerson on keys and the pain-killing rhythm section: Randy McDonald on bass, Bowen Brown on drums. The event listing says the start time is 8 p.m. and it could sell out, so be there early, whatever that means.
They have a “Valentines Day Weekend Dance Party” at the Historic Eagle House on Saturday (after V-Day, but whatever) with Love Bomb GoGo and The Bayou Swamis.
The invite suggests, “Get your New Orleans vibes on with these very different, but equally entertaining bands that bring in the NOLA flair as we roll towards Mardi Gras!” Well, you know the Cajun vibe of the Swamis. Love Bomb GoGo is a PDX-based “Intergalactic Ensemble Of Mysterious Origins,” offering “genre-smashing horn-driven intergalactic glam,” which kinda sounds like their PDX neighbors March Fourth. Doors at 8 p.m. Show runs 9-midnight.
A reminder, the Logger has a busy Valentine’s weekend with Darcey’s Special Valentine’s Day Dinner Feb. 14, 5-7 p.m. and ’80s tunes by Eyes Anonymous at 9. Then on Saturday (Feb. 15), “See two husband and wife rock duos, Ralph & Claire from Arcata, and Clean Girl and the Dirty Dishes from Eureka, two lover bands makin’ music you’ll love! FREE!”
At the Miniplex Saturday, they have “Australian heavy-psych sisters” Stonefield on tour with L.A.’s Hooveriii. Doors at 9 p.m. They’re cool.
At the Van Duzer, CenterArts presents Brazilian dance troupe, Grupo Corpo, “joining modern movement with the complexity of Afro-Brazilian dance.” Showtime 8 p.m.
Raconteur extraordinaire David Sedaris is coming to HSU — again. I guess he couldn’t land last time, as a result, they rescheduled his night at the Van Duzer for Sunday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m. I’m guessing it’s sold out, but you never can tell, and there’s always that miracle ticket.
Monday at the Miniplex, 9 p.m. it’s an alt. tour with Ezra Furman and Kelley Stoltz, two cool musicians who I have the time and space to discuss, because, well, relativity and all that.
Yes, it’s time to go, and I am often a space case. Adios…