This week's Worth A Look is all about music. The 43rd annual Stanford Jazz Festival begins, the first ever French Classical Music Festival debuted this weekend at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View and the Vans Warped Tour rolled through town.
Stanford Jazz Festival
Smooth, cool, complex and energetic -- the sounds of jazz are diverse. And beginning this weekend, running through early August, Stanford will be overflowing with just about every kind of the most American of musical genres.
The Stanford Jazz Festival, now in its 43rd season, has seen many of the world's top performers in its day. Hosted by the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the event grew out of informal jam sessions held in the early '70s, blossoming into what it is today -- a showcase for rising stars and jazz veterans alike.
This year the festival features 35 individual concerts with around 40 acts, including some of the biggest names in jazz today.
Ernie Rideout, marketing director for the Sanford Jazz Workshop, says attendees have plenty to look forward to at the festival this year.
First of all, renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch will be performing a duet every night during the first week of August -- sometimes with artists he's played with before and other times with artists he is sharing the stage with for the first time.
"Fred is famous for his wonderful duets with a wide variety of jazz musicians," Rideout says. "It's going to be a real interesting opportunity to hear brand new jazz being created. It's a very special thing that you can't hear any place else."
Also, this year the Stanford Jazz Workshop has booked a far higher concentration of "marquee" names to the bill, such as Chick Corea, the Yellowjackets, the Kenny Barron Trio and Arturo Sandoval.
Additionally, Rideout notes, something for fans who've attended the concert year in and year out. Dinkelspiel Auditorium now has air conditioning. In years past, Rideout notes, jazz fans have endured high temperatures while taking in the music they love. This year, they'll get to enjoy a climate-controlled environment.
The festival kicks off this weekend, and runs every weekend until July 18, when the concert goes full time -- with a concert every night -- until it's conclusion on August 9. For more information on tickets and concert dates, go to stanfordjazz.org or call 650-725-2787.
French music festival
The first-ever French Music Festival at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View kicks off this weekend, June 20 and 21.
The event features several performances, covering a range of French music from the mid-19th century to modern times.
On the first day of the festival, the Ensemble San Francisco will perform a collection of works that they are calling "Une Soiree Parisienne" (An Evening in Paris). The group, which was founded by clarinetist Roman Fukshansky and pianist Christine McLeavey Payne, will perform Darius Milhaud's 1923 ballet, "La creation du monde." Penned at a time when the Western art world was highly influenced by the African continent, the piece tells of the creation of the world through African mythology.
Also on the first day, violinist Moni Simeonov will perform Maurice Ravel's "Tzigane," and cellist Jonah Kim will play a "fascinating melange of tunes" made famous by Edith Piaf.
During the festival's second day, in a program entitled "Musique de chamber virtuose" (Virtuoso Chamber Music), a group of 20 musicians and singers will perform four French works, including the evening's major work, Ernest Chausson's "Concert pour violon, piano et quatuor a cordes" -- a double concerto featuring violin soloist Stephen Waarts and Gwendolyn Mok on solo piano.
The music begins at 8 p.m. on both June 20 and 21 at the CSMA, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. For more information, go to frenchmusicfestival.org.
Vans Warped Tour
The Warped Tour, the Vans-sponsored, long-running punk and alternative festival, is coming to Shoreline Amphitheatre this Saturday, June 21, with a massive lineup of bands and other artists, spanning a wide variety of genres, including hardcore, indie, alternative, punk, metal, ska, electronic and hip-hop.
The festival kicks off at 11 a.m., giving attendees plenty of time to take in all the storied tour has to offer. Still, with 94 bands performing, fans will have to make some tough choices. But don't worry if you're the type that has a hard time with decisions. Here are eight artists that run the gamut from pure pop rock to dance-floor shaking electronic, from classic punk to face-punching hardcore.
Poppy punks: Florida quintet We The Kings make unapologetically gleeful punk-tinged pop rock, full of soaring melodies, sweet harmonies and lyrics about falling in and out of love and getting into trouble under the sun and palm trees.
Classic punks: Another Florida act, Less Than Jake, have been skanking around the country with their signature brand of ska-punk since 1992. All the '80s babies who ever owned anything in a checkerboard pattern will remember these Warped Tour veterans. But younger crowds will enjoy their infectious horn-tinged anthems, too.
Party rocker: Crizzly is a Texas-based button masher who rocks the dance floor with style that sounds a bit like what Skrillex might sound like if he came up in the South. Plenty of boom-bap kick and snare, with rapid fire Dirty South high hats giving way to some serious womp and fax-machine-death sounds when Crizzly lets the beat drop. No wonder he calls his sound "crunkstep."
Screamo darlings: Before Skrillex (and Crizzly) introduced a generation to the bass drop, bands like Midwestern melodic metal heads The Devil Wears Prada were practicing a different kind of drop. Along with other groups like Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Underoath, this Ohio band helped pioneer the mashed up genre of screamo, which combined the introspective lyrics of emo, the heavy breakdowns of death metal and the shimmering, melodic guitar work of '80s hair metal.
Southern hardcore: Every Time I Die know how to get the pit started. With sardonic lyrics, heavy breakdowns, and riffs that skew toward bluesy rock, this band from Buffalo, New York, certainly has a unique sound that will leave you feeling like you got punched in the face (in a good way).
Honest hip-hop: K.Flay, an alumna of Stanford University, didn't stick around Silicon Valley after graduating. Instead she moved to Oakland and eventually New York City, refining her introspective, hilariously self-deprecating flows along the way. Part Lana Del Rey, part Slug, part Azelia Banks, she spits rhymes that are by turns painful, truthful and hilarious.
The Warped Tour begins at 11 a.m. on June 21 at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Tickets range from about $60 to about $90. For more information, go to vanswarpedtour.com.
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