Group portrait of Flambeau with Tom Rigney, center (from a Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Event page on Facebook)
Since, as was reported yesterday, the Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie mini-series of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (YBGF) gets under way this evening, I realize that it may be useful to call attention to some of the “main stage” activities that are likely to appeal to those who take their listening seriously, regardless of the genre being performed. One of those will take place on the last Saturday of this month in a program organized by and featuring violinist and composer Tom Rigney. Rigney has formed a group called Flambeau to explore the broad scope of approaches to music-making that tend to be grouped under the term “roots.”
The other members of Flambeau are pianist Caroline Dahl, Steve Parks on bass, drummer Brent Rampone, and guitarist Danny Caron, a veteran of the blues-and-roots tradition. Those who know their French will recognize that the group’s name is the noun for “torch,” meaning that listeners should prepare for a fiery approach to the ways in which the group explores the many dimensions of “roots.” As might be expected, the geographical basis for that exploration is where the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, with particular attention to New Orleans styles at their funkiest and Cajun and zydeco jamming at its most flammable. Expect a heavy dose of Delta blues at its most low-down to be added to the mix. Then, for good measure, it is likely that Rigney will add some of his own originals to this heady mix.
The “main stage” is located in Yerba Buena Gardens itself, which fills most of the northwest corner of Howard Street and Third Street. This particular concert will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, and should last for about 90 minutes. Seats are usually set up in front of the stage; but if May 26 happens to be one of those rare days when the sun comes out, attendees should be prepared to have their own ways to shade themselves. There are also a few shady spots under trees near the stage, and some may even have chairs set up there. There is no charge for those (or any other) YBGF event; so showing up is all that is required.