For seventeen days starting March 18, Savannah will play host to dozens of acclaimed musical artists. Most are nationally-known, and many enjoy enviable reputations worldwide. Originally called Savannah Onstage, and now known as The Savannah Music Festival, the scope, draw and public profile of this annual showcase have grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years.
With 85 events on tap (24 of which are free to the public), its simply impossible for us to mention every show (for a comprehensive list, check out
www.savannahmusicfestival.org), but we can offer a few suggestions in our next three issues for gigs you might want to take in - assuming both time and money are an object in your household.
I mean, if given the chance, most of us would likely skip work, board the pets, pawn the kids off on Grandma, and settle in for the long haul. But, if shirking responsibilities and blowing your mortgage payment is out of the question, these picks may narrow things down.
If something strikes your fancy, call the Trustees Theater Box Office at 525-5050, or use that website to score tickets but dont delay, as many will sell out soon...
This protegé of the late Muddy Waters is considered by many to be the finest living exponent of the Chicago blues. In the course of his five-decade-long career, he has served apprenticeships, shared stages, and cut records with two fistfuls of icons, including Junior Wells, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton, Koko Taylor, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hes a multiple Grammy winner who was famously named by Jimi Hendrix as that late superstars favorite blues guitarist. Known as much for his deep and nuanced vocals as his fiery leads, hes one of the last true links to the golden age of postwar blues. He hasnt played Savannah in over a decade, so this is a dream come true for local blues fans.
Fri., 9 pm, Trustees Theater.
Executive and Artistic Director Rob Gibson has a soft spot for jam-bands, and it shows in his enthusiastic embrace of this loose-limbed style of improvisatory (and sometimes psychedelic) roots-rock. This time around, downtowns rustic, cavernous train depot, The Roundhouse, is the setting for whats sure to be a popular draw for both young and old alike. This lengthy, freeform quadruple bill features stalwarts like guitarist Col. Bruce Hampton (of infamous 60s freak-rock ensemble The Hampton-Grease Band) and his Codetalkers with their special guest, Jimmy Herring (lead guitarist with The Dead), and Blueground Undergrass, a pioneering act featuring the Rev. Jeff Mosiers mesmerizing banjowork. Also on hand: Savannahs own Perpetual Groove, themselves rising stars on the national jam scene, and Norwegian percussionist Hans-Kristian Sorensen, wholl play solo.
Sat., 6 pm, The Roundhouse Complex.
James Moodys 80th Birthday
This Savannah native is a highly respected figure in the jazz community having played extensively with Dizzy Gillespies bebop orchestra, and later with Miles Davis, Max Roach, Lionel Hampton and other innovators of the form. For this celebration (on his actual birthday, no less), hell perform on both sax and flute, and serve as guest of honor and master of ceremonies, Also on hand will be a knockout octet, including brothers Jimmy, Pearcy and Tootie Heath (on sax, bass and drums, respectively). For this show, trombonist Slide Hampton will premiere a brand-new piece which he has composed specifically for this joyous occasion. Any serious jazzbo would be tickled pink for a seat at this summit meeting. Sat., 8:30 pm, Lucas Theater.
Seminal New Orleans session group The Meters were the closest thing the Crescent City had to Booker T. & The MGs. Their infectious grooves provided the greasy, polyrhythmic backbone behind everyone from Professor Longhair and Dr. John to Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. When they split in the late 70s, some started a little band you might have heard of called The Neville Brothers. But, in the 90s, bassist George Porter and drummer Russell Batiste regrouped as The Funky Meters, and eventually welcomed former Bob Dylan session guitarist Brian Stoltz into the fold. Together they represent a direct link to the origins of swampy Creole dance music so what better place for them to play a couple of club sets than this subterranean nightspot owned by the folks behind the sorely-missed eatery Orleans Brick Oven? This should be the late-night place to be. Sat., 11 pm + Sun., 1 am, Jazzd Tapas Bar. w