On January 23 I watched vocalist Luciana Souza and guitarist Romero Lubambo give a free lunchtime Brazilian jazz concert, right in the auditorium of my own office building. It was a rare treat to have this opportunity at my location; most such events are held on the main Parnassus campus, and I'm a few miles away at Laurel Heights. In any case, I loved the music even though I couldn't understand a word of Portuguese. Souza has a beautiful voice, but Lubambo's guitar playing is simply phenomenal. His fingers were a blur as they just flew over the strings. I was very impressed; I must remember to check out their albums...
On January 29 I attended the first free Chancellor's Concert Series event of the year, for which I did have to travel to Parnassus (but I had business there that afternoon anyway). William Wellborn from the American Liszt Society performed piano works by Scarlatti, Weber, and Beethoven. I went mostly to hear the famous Moonlight Sonata (I can play the first movement only), but that ended up being the most disappointing of the set. I may have been hearing things, but I'm certain he played several wrong notes. The Scarlatti sonatas were excellent though, and Weber's "Invitation to the Dance" was lovely. Though I'm not normally fond of waltzes, Wellborn explained the idea of program music to the audience in advance, so you could imagine the gentleman asking the lady to dance, then waltzing with her, then escorting her back to her seat, all illustrated through Weber's music.
On February 2 I went to see Jonathan Richman at the Make-Out Room. I've been a fan of Jonathan's ever since my friend Gordon introduced me to his music many years ago; I've probably seen him perform live more than I've seen any other band. He has a straight rock-and-roll style but also a great sense of humor, and clever lyrics. Unfortunately, this concert venue suffered from very poor sound. boyziggy really winced hearing it. The sound board was on stage; Jonathan tweaked it during songs, sometimes interrupting his guitar playing to do so, and the only other musician was a drummer which led to some gaps in the music. Still, the audience seemed to enjoy it, including my co-worker John who I invited as he had always wanted to hear a Jonathan performance. Most of the songs he chose weren't my favorites, but he did do an extended humor interlude during "Let Her Go Into the Darkness", imitating men and women arguing in many different languages (or pseudo-languages). It was quite funny, but you had to be there. Jonathan's recordings really don't do his music justice; he's much better live (even with, in this case, sub-par audio support).
My next "concert" outing will be seeing John Cleese, of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame, next week at Herbst Theater. I can't wait.