Columbia Jazz Artist Series
Date(s) - 01/14/2023
Murphys Creek Theatre
The Columbia Jazz Artist Series kicks off their 2023 season with a Saturday, January 14, 2023 performance at 2 p.m. at the Murphys Creek Theatre. Guitarist Johnny Valdes will be the featured artist performing with the Mario Flores Jazz Band 20-piece and the Columbia Big Band. Tickets are $18 for reserved seating with only 132 seats available on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can only be purchased online here
The Columbia Jazz Artist Series is returning after a Covid hiatus. This program invites professional jazz artists to perform with local musicians. The evening will showcase Santana tunes, vocal selections and very contagious Latin grooves,” Rod Harris, director of the program said. “We’ll save room in the back for dancing.” Harris said that Murphys Creek Theatre has been newly renovated. “If you haven’t been before, it’s a great intimate theater, great sound, great parking, great sight-lines, beer and wine for sale, and comfortable new seats,” Rod Harris said. Johnny Valdes is an accomplished musician performing in the bay area and the central valley. You can hear a lot of history in Valdes’s guitar playing, but he cites his diverse guitar influences of Jimi Hendrix, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield and Pat Metheny. Some of the masters that have helped shape his approach are Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Chris Potter. He has opened for and played with the Chris Cain Band, with Dave Kirk Mathews, Bruce Forman, John Stowell, Mark Little, Mic Gillette of Tower of Power, Roy Rodgers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, Gabriel Manzo of MALO, Blues great Lady Bianca, Gloria Scott formerly of Sly and the Family Stone, and others. “Although like all great artists Johnny has strong ideas about how jazz, a technical music, should be played he balances this with his musical and human chops that make him an asset in any group, any bandstand USA,” Harris said. The Mario Flores Latin Jazz Band is a local favorite led with Flores on percussion. The band’s repertoire includes Latin jazz, pop and original arrangements as well as Afro-Cuban classics presented in the “tropo- bopo” style. “The group delivers rhythmically vibrant soundscapes in the tradition of Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Chano Pozo, Carlos Santana, Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo,” Harris said. The Columbia Jazz Artist Series will continue throughout the year in a variety of venues. Next up is the Annual Jazz Festival planned for Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4, 2023. This will include workshops for high school students with professional jazz artists. This year the Vocal Jazz Festival is included with regional high schools participating. The event culminates with a public performance. Jazz artists participating in the Jazz Festival are drummer Kenny Washington, saxophonist Paul Canto and pianist Matt Falker. Details on times and locations will be announced. The Columbia Jazz Artist Series will continue with a Sunday, February 26 performance with special guest Alex Lucero at the Armory in downtown Sonora. Performance time to be announced.