Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott Heron -- RIP

He just died in NYC.

Look and listen to this beautiful video:

(image borrowed from

Adam Segreti Memorial Fundraiser TONIGHT

I know it's last-minute notice, but this fundraiser is a gig too exciting to miss.

Alex Ligertwood (lead vocalist of Santana) has gathered a group of sensational musicians to play in a Fundraiser for Cancer. Lineup includes Ligertwood, Randall Hall, former guitarist of Lynyrd Skynrd; Fergi Frederiksen, former lead vocalist of Toto; and Kenny Crawley, who's performed with Bo Diddley, Ligertwood, Brian Johnson and Dickey Betts.

Right here in Sarasota, music central of the Suncoast. So hand over your $15 for a good cause and listen up!

TONIGHT! At Bobby Jones Golf Course, 100 Circus Blvd, Sarasota FL 34232. You can golf all day, have dinner, and then surrender yourself to the joy of sound -- the show starts at 8PM.

3 Piece Suit at Boatyard Village Tuesday Market

Sarasota is a music town, with tunes wafting over from almost every beach bar, restaurant, and shopping street. And yet, it's still possible to be surprised by a new sound in the Sarasota live music scene.

Last Tuesday, strolling through the 4-week-old "Afternoon Market at The Boatyard Village" (5 - 8:30PM), just over the Stickney Point Bridge from Siesta Key, we paused to admire the very hot cool jazz of Three Piece Suit Engineered. As it happened, this new weekly market venue provided the debut stage for the first public gig of a three piece jazz band that includes its engineer in the official lineup.

They call their music "gospel jazz fusion". I call it "very hot cool jazz". Whatever you call it, it showcases the individual talent and group solidarity of musicians who have been playing and studying music since childhood, have each performed for years with various nationally known acts, and discovered that playing together here in Sarasota is the best possible "fusion" of their gifts.

All the music is original, and the musicianship is very very tight. Gary Lidge calls himself a "keyboard stylist"-- he's both composer and performer of mood-inflected inspired trips over the ivories. Bassist Thomas Presha, drummer Kevin Snelling, and audio tech Carlos Farias bring tone, rhythm and seamless sound blending to the mix. Standing in the parking lot of The Boatyard Village, with the hum of shoppers and vendors all around, it was hard to believe that this was 3 Piece Suit's first outside show. They sounded like they've been doin' it for years, and with this quality they surely will be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Joey Lavallee at Marina Jack's

It's difficult for a solo performer to make enough interesting sounds to hold a room over the course of a set. Some soloists around town have resorted to playing along with pre-recorded instrumental and vocal loops to help them approximate a band. Throughout the recession, we've seen more of this in the Sarasota live music scene as venues have only been willing to pay for soloists or duos, trying to save money over paying for live bands.

This evening at the Portside Patio overlooking downtown Sarasota's beautiful Bayfront Park at Marina Jack's, soloist Joey Lavallee offered up full bass tones and melodic medium notes on both guitar and vocals, creating a full-bodied sound without the use of additional tracks. His stylized versions of familiar songs were interesting, as were his comfortable and proficient runs as he took impressive lead breaks.

We'd seen and danced recently to his lead vocals in the Mark Serio & Friends band at Mattison's City Grille, where the band played an evening of lively danceable funk, with barely a slow song to ease things down.

Tonight at the Portside Patio, Joey Lavallee's tone was more contemplative and smoother. The versatility of top-notch musicians is what keeps us coming back for more. The Sarasota nightlife scene continues to provide great opportunities to see virtuosity close-up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ron Kraemer, Blues Man

Blues man Ron Kraemer is a newcomer to the Sarasota live music scene. He relocated here about a year ago from Trenton, NJ, where he and his band, The Hurricanes, attracted an enthusiastic following.

In a relatively short amount of time, he's found a number of local Sarasota musicians whose chops resonate with his style of jazz and blues playing. He's now booked for several upcoming Sunday evenings at the Legacy Grille, an outdoor sports bar just south of Stickney Point on S. Tamiami Trail opposite the Gulf Gate neighborhood.

Tonight we spent a breezy hour listening to Ron Kraemer's duo (with Mark Neuenschwander on upright bass) performing at Legacy Grille. The setting was quite pleasant given its proximity to busy Tamiami Trail, and we even enjoyed a view of the setting sun over Siesta Key.

Kraemer's understated stage presence belies impressive instrumental mastery as he runs up and down the neck of his jazz guitar with focus and fluidity. Towards the end of several hard-driving songs, he pulls back and re-addresses the guitar with a light and subtle touch, creating a surprising, gentle landing. Hard to describe, you'll just have to head down to Legacy Grille next Sunday from 6:30 to 9:30PM and listen for yourselves.