The Red Poppy Art House has extended its Upcoming Events list to December 15. Whether things will go quiet when most people are celebrating their respective holidays remains to be seen. As was observed last month, the “density of events” around Thanksgiving definitely lessened; and the second half of December tends to place even more demands on those who might otherwise be spending their time at concerts.
The Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street on the southwest corner of 23rd Street. Tickets will be available only at the door. All of the December shows listed thus far will begin at 7:30 p.m. Those who have not previously been to the Poppy need to know that it is a small space. It is almost always a good idea to be there when the doors open one half-hour before the performance is scheduled to begin. Here are the specifics for the events scheduled for the month of December:
Friday, December 1: This will be an inaugural collaboration between jazz harpist Destiny Muhammad and trumpeter Darren Johnston, two longtime contributors to the Bay Area jazz scene. The program will include some premieres of Johnston’s compositions, as well as jazz standards and innovative covers from around the globe. Rhythm will be provided only by Giulio Xavier on bass. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.
Thursday, December 7: Trio Caminos is named after its leader, guitarist Carols Caminos, who performs with Sascha Jacobsen on bass and Marlon Aldana on cajón, the boxlike percussion instrument shown below in the group photograph:
courtesy of the Red Poppy Art House
This is a cross-cultural ensemble, which draws upon Venezuela, Spain, Cuba, and the Americas for its sources. They will combine their original compositions with works by Astor Piazzolla, Hermeto Pascoal, and Michel Camilo. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.
Friday, December 8: Trio Garufa specializes in the tango repertoire. The members are Argentinian Guillermo García on guitar, Swiss Adrian Jost on bandoneon, and American Jacobsen returning from his Thursday gig on bass. Their catalog includes classic Argentine tangos, Argentine folk music, the modern tangos of Piazzolla, and original compositions. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.
Saturday, December 9: Jacobsen will make one more appearance, this time playing bass with the Musical Art Quintet. This is not the standard “classical” string quintet, which doubles either the viola or the cello. Rather, it is a string quartet with an added bass. The quartet members are violinists Anthony Blea and Michelle Walther, violist Charith Premawardhana, and cellist Lewis Patzner. Jacobsen is the leader of the group, which takes classical chamber music as a rhetorical bass and then explores the possibilities for improvisation, often taking Jacobsen’s compositions as a point of departure. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.
Thursday, December 14: Mean to Me is a more conventional jazz combo in which Ben Slater alternates between saxophone and piano. He is joined by Dave Shaff on trumpet and Cairo McCochran on drums. The remainder of the rhythm section (bass and guitar) has not yet been determined for this particular performance; but the instrumentalists will be joined by vocalist Judy Butterfield.
The group’s repertoire is rooted in the “classic” jazz from the Twenties through the Forties. It is named for a song by Fred E. Ahlert published in 1929 but probably best known by the recording Billie Holiday made in 1937 with Lester Young and Teddy Wilson. In spite of the “roots” of their sources, the group’s interpretations often draw upon the more modern stylings of Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Ahmad Jamal. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.
Friday, December 15: If this turns out to be the final concert of the year, then one might say that the occasion will be celebrated with a ball of fire. Six members of Caminos Flamencos and/or Barrio Manouche will blend the musical worlds of flamenco, jazz, and Roma jazz (of the sort practiced by Django Reinhardt). Luis Jimenez will provide percussion for two guitarists, Jason “El Rubio” McGuire and Javi Jimenez, with vocals provided by Felix de Lola. There will also be two dancers, Fanny Ara and Yaelisa, choreographer and Artistic Director of Caminos Flamencos. This promises to be a “really big show” (for those who remember that epithet), which means that the price will be a bit higher. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.