The music- and beer-packed weekend "Jazz and Beyond 2008" at the Brewery and Performance Hall in town was better that last year's, if that is possible. While the attendance was down a little at Friday night's Beer Tasting (20 micro brews!), BAC program director Chris Willson pointed out that last year admittance to the music was free; this year it was $10 a night or $25 for all three days.
We missed Friday night's headliner, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, but the music was hot and the beer cold, a critic said. The Mile High Jazz Band of Carson City has been playing around town for years and they never sounded better, the critic noted.
Saturday night, after a day in the mountains checking out the new ski runs and chair lift at Northstar-at-Tahoe, we got there too late for the Sierra Nevada Ballet performance but did catch the Reno Big Band playing charts updated from the old Big Band era. Some fine trumpet and flugel horn playing there, along with flute and alto duets.
On the main stage Craig Chaquico and friends offered some fine rock,and in fact led me to an epiphany of sorts. Never a rock fan, I rarely make it to rock venues so never dug the genre. But Craig showed me something - how the power of a rocking, full-blast band and a powerful vocalist can turn rock into an art form. The kinetic energy alone was enough to pump up a listener and get him in motion. So now I include rock in my musical library.
One act I couldn't miss was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, complete with tuba. This was my first hearing of the group, and when they slipped into "When the Saints Come Marching In," I was uplifted. Used to hear that tune while in college, and at home in Dayton, Ohio, caught the Dixieland Rhythm Kings in a smoky roadhouse basement. Much good memory there, with another flugelhorn played simultaneously with a standard trumpet and with an electric bass putting down the floor, the Dozen were an army. The baritone sax (Gerry Mulligan would be impressed) was a second foundation with sudden honks in case anyone was going to sleep.
There was so much offered at this "Jazz and Beyond" that I couldn't take it all in. Sunday openers Me and Bobby McGee was a must see and was worth the early (noon) drive. The Ken Davidson Trio brought the "Jazz and Beyond" up to date. Missed the jam sessions but what more could one ask for than what was already on the program?
John Procaccini, Brewery executive director, and Chris Willson, marketing director, were helped by David Bugli and Bob Sullivan in putting this outing together. A lot of other people and businesses also did much to make this event one of the best the city enjoy. If you don't think so, you should have seen the youngsters dancing to the Dozen. Music fans aborning!
Missed the Sunday brunch, but my plate was already full enough.
The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno hosts Beck with special guest Devendra Banhart tonight at 8 in the Grand Theater. Beck is big in the alternative music world and Banhart does new and old voices. Tickets are $42.50 at 789-2000. Terry Fator follows Beck there at 8 p.m. Saturday Aug. 23. Fator does it all in his one-man show, aimed at the family crowd. Tickets are $49.50 to $60.50, same phone number.
Sheryl Crow with James Blunt and Toots & The Maytals appears at 6:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 23 at Harveys Outdoor Arena. Tickets are $49.50 to $125.50 plus fees. On Saturday Aug. 30 it's an "Evening with Kiss" at Harveys. For this one it'll cost you $59.50 to $155.
FROM THE VAULTS
Susan Isaac's thick paperback "Lily White" is a bold strike out against the traditional thriller, mixing two linked but separate stories together: one about a dysfunctional family and the other about the daughter that came out of that family. Isaacs knows her Jews, and she pinpoints weaknesses and desire there. She also knows her cops and her con men and she is right on key when creating both characters. And she does it all with a self-deprecating with this assures a laugh on every page, along with some sharp insights into human foibles. At 612 pages (paperback, $6.99 back in 1997) this is not a quick read, but it is worth all the energy needed to old it up. And the two entwined stories really add an extra dimension to the book.
• Contact Sam Bauman at email@example.com.