George joins Michael at Comma | NevadaAppeal.com

George joins Michael at Comma

by Sam Bauman

GUITAR JAMMING

The music just keeps on rolling along Carson City, with Michael Powers playing his skeleton guitar at Comma Coffee on May 5. He’s a local favorite, and for good reason. Powers has a unique set-up, for which he has prerecorded rhythm backgrounds for solos, even adding new passages during performances by some computer magic.

Powers was joined in his second set by local guitar whiz George Hanepen, who plays Fridays at Carson Station. They had never played together before, but the music was smooth and powerful. “Girl from Ipanema” was a feeling-out opener, followed by a terrific “El Blues” jam that hummed and ached beautifully.

Ray Charles lives

If you’re still hungry for more Ray Charles in the wake of the movie “Ray,” get yourself over to the Eldorado in Reno for “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” a reprise of his most famous songs by six superb interpreters of the music.

This is not lip-sync at work or a carbon copy of Charles’ songs – the arrangements are new – but the music still vibrates with Charles throughout.

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Here are a few of the tunes in the show: “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Hit the Road, Jack,” “Georgia,” “What’d I Say,” “I’ve Gotta Woman” and “America the Beautiful.”

A trumpet solo opens “Georgia,” in haunting counterpoint to the vocals by C.E. Smith, and “America” catches the emotion of Charles beautifully.

Smith is joined by N’Kenge Simpson-Hoffman, B.J. Crosby, Ken Pyrmus and Glen Turner – all complete pros. Simpson-Hoffman is something else: a classically trained opera singer who knows blues and pop music. Even when not the soloist, she’s working every moment, never coasting.

She’s young and slim and beautiful, and has a voice that could shatter wine glasses. And the singers are backed by a fine 11-piece orchestra directed by Ron Metscalf at the piano.

“I Can’t Stop Loving You – The Music of Ray Charles” plays in the Eldorado Showroom through June 5. Ticket prices begin at $26.95. Call(800) 648-5966 or 786-5700.

Mixing it up

Saturday, the community college hosts “Cultures Around the World,” a multicultural festival on campus. We are multicultural so join in the fun from 11:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

Included are lots of free amusements, show dancing, music, art on display, plus out-of-town food and international displays. Call 445-3000.

Fun funding

The Carson City Symphony Association will host a “Symphony of Flavors: Food, Wine and Music,” 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall.

A reception features finger food, wines and informal, live music. The affair continues at 7:30 p.m. with a recital of talented musicians who have performed with the symphony. Call 883-1976. Good cause, good fun.

Mea culpa

It’s not often that I have $5,000 to give away, but in yesterday’s paper I gave $5,000 to the BAC Stage Kids’ production of “We the People.” Not my money, of course. The problem is the $5,000 was given to the Western Nevada Musical Company for “Beauty and the Beast,” the current production, and it was from my bank, Wells Fargo. What can I say, other than I promise to keep paying my mortgage on time.

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