Friday, Jan. 2 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. kicks off the 2009 Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival with the Northwest Iowa Musicians playing at The Copper Cup.
The Pub Crawls will from 9 p.m. to midnight with The Eric Klotz Trio at Corvo's, The David Zollo Trio will be performing at the Cherokee Bowl's Blue Room Lounge, Something Underground will be performing at The Other Place, and Tom Gary Blues Band will be performing at The Gathering Place.
The Festival will continue on Saturday, Jan. 3 with the Jam Session from noon to 3 p.m. at The Gathering Place, and The David Zollo Trio will be hosting this event. Local musicians are welcome to sign up for this event.
The Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival Main Concert will be held at Western Iowa Tech Community College's Conference Center starting at 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, with this year's headliner Kelley Hunt, blues pianist/vocalist, with opening act The Erick Hovey Band.
Pub Crawls on Saturday are from 9 p.m. to midnight and the Erick Hovey Band will be performing at the VFW Club, Something Underground will be performing at the Cherokee Bowl's Blue Room Lounge, The David Zollo Trio will be performing at The Other Place, and the Eric Klotz Trio will be at The Gathering Place.
On Sunday, Jan 4 the Brunch Buffet will begin at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gathering Place, featuring once again, Kelley Hunt.
The Jim Oatts Quintet Student Music Clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cherokee Middle School on Friday, Jan. 16. This event is free to area high school band directors and their high school music students. Due to space and time limitations, the event is only accepting the first five schools that indicate they want to participate in the music clinic.
Info about the music clinic contact Paul McEntaffer, Band director,
Washington High School, 600 W. Bluff St. Cherokee, IA 51012 or call 225-6755. Tickets for the Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival are available at Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, 225-6414; The Copper Cup, 225-5287; and State Farm Insurance, 225-5747. For more information visit www.cherokeejazzbluesfestival.com.
Equipped with a 'rode hard and put away wet,' whiskey-soaked rasp and a deep bag of keyboard chops that echoes some of the greats of country, rhythm & blues and gut-bucket rock, David Zollo brings to The Big Night the kind of savvy, trans-genre synthesis you might expect from a grizzled road warrior 20 or more years his senior.
Precocious from jump street, Zollo has always been ahead of the curve. He began playing the piano at the age of four and, steeped in his writer/journalist daddy's eclectic record collection (jump blues, whorehouse jazz, folk, vintage rock, soul and Golden Era country, you name it), the kid with an "old soul" was regaling family house parties with knockout Ray Charles and Huey "Piano" Smith covers by his early teens.
Zollo founded High and Lonesome, a hell-raising quintet that fused the Stones, Southern rock and alt-rock'n'country in the early '90s. Over the next five years, the band careened across the Midwest, playing over 200 gigs per annum and releasing three discs (plus David's first solo effort) on his own Iowa City-based Trailer Records label along the way.
The ravages of time, travel, well, just too much of 'too much' took their toll on "Hi & Lo," particularly on the band's hard-charging leader. A career-threatening throat condition was remedied by surgery, extensive therapy and no small amount of luck, but as Zollo & Co. readied for more studio time, it was clear that they had reached an impasse.
The band dissolved, and what began as the fourth High & Lonesome recording became Zollo's second solo disc - the earthy, rustic and decidedly more stylistically diverse Uneasy Street.
Throughout these formative years, complex, give-and-take relationships were developed between Zollo and the previous generation of Eastern Iowa's roots-music heavyweights.
The flexible keyboardist was mentored by (and picked up regular gigs/session work with) celebrated singer/songwriter Greg Brown and guitarist/producer Bo Ramsey (Brown, Lucinda Williams, Dave Moore, Kevin Gordon, Teddy Morgan, Joan Baez, etc.). Meanwhile, David's Trailer imprint has issued acclaimed discs by Ramsey, Brown and extraordinary, ghost-channeling bluesman Joe Price, as well other stellar Iowa roots musicians.
Zollo's brand-new The Big Night burns out of the gate with the steamy bump-and-grinder "While You Undress," a swank little number that conjures up the dangerous, halcyon days of the Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. The artist's gift for seamless cross-pollination of musical forms is evident everywhere. "Eye Of The Needle" welds fire-and-brimstone gospel imagery to soaring country rock, "Why Don't You Stop Me Now" slaps The Band's in-bred harmonies and music hall ethos atop an inebriated hip-shake worthy of The Faces, and the title track pours a lacy, Charlie Rich-styled piano line over rolling Hammond organ in a dreamy, melancholy waltz.
The disc's only song not penned by Zollo is Bo Ramsey and Kevin Gordon's criminally-overlooked "Get Away," a rollicking, 'Loserville' anthem whose chorus ("Oh, get away, this old town is like a ball-and-chain/Gotta run, gotta run like a fast freight train") will have folks all over the planet swearing it was written specifically for their own miserable burgs (and it was). The alchemy continues.
"You're Gonna Get What You Wanted" is a loopy, sassy floor-burner in which Lynyrd Skynyrd serendipitously mind-melds with NRBQ (yoiks!), "Lonesome Childhood" is a sweet, closing-time weeper with Bo Ramsey (who also plays on "Eye Of The Needle") adding atmospheric guitar textures, "Respect (Ain't A One-Way Street)" intersects with high-stepping country-rock, and the heartbreak country of "Take Me Away" gets a gorgeous, three-hankie treatment from Iowa legend Dale Thomas' pedal steel guitar.
The Big Night closes with "Driftwood From Kerry," a swirling, wrenching rock anthem that manages to draw all of the disparate facets of this sprawling, ambitious opus together. Zollo's gifts as a singer, songwriter and musician are impossible to miss; his abilities as an arranger and bandleader are more subtle. Produced by David (along with Tom Tatman), The Big Night allows ample room for drummer Brad Engeldinger, bassist Stevie Howard and guitarists Eric Straumanis and Chris Winters to flesh out and wrap around the songs, in short, to be A BAND.