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Jazz & Classics begins with Arlo Guthrie concert Friday

Posted: May 1, 2013 - 11:03pm
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Over the years, Juneau has come to have some pretty high expectations from the Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, and a look at this year’s lineup indicates that disappointment is nowhere in our future.

First up, on Friday: Arlo Guthrie.

Last up, May 18: Booker T.

In between, a list of musical luminaries that includes Richard Dowling, Evan Drachman, The Jasper String Quartet, Lorraine Feather and Juneau’s own Paul Rosenthal.

Founded by Artistic Director Linda Rosenthal, and now in its 27th year, the Jazz & Classics festival brings world-class musicians from all over the country to perform in a wide variety of venues around the capital city. This year’s concerts will take place at Centennial Hall, the Shrine of St. Therese, the Alaska Brewing Co. Depot, the atrium of the State Office Building, the Gold Town Nickelodeon and many more locations. Some concerts are free, others require tickets.

The 16-day festival also includes workshops, open rehearsals and other special events.

Guthrie’s concert Friday night at Centennial Hall is the very first performance of the festival. Part of his “Here Comes the Kid” tour, the concert is organized to honor the centennial observance of his famous father’s birthday.

Oklahoma-born Woody Guthrie grew up hearing folk music -- from traditional Scottish melodies to Western songs -- from his own dad. As he got older, his musical upbringing was shaped by personal and political childhood experiences, including the loss of his mother and sister, and the ruin of his hometown due to the oil boom-bust of the 1920s. An NPR story composed in honor of his 100th birthday said that his influence on American music includes not only his songs -- which include the iconic “This Land is Your Land” -- but also the way he blended his roles as a singer and a songwriter into one entity, setting the standard for singer-songwriters after him.

Not surprisingly, Arlo Guthrie was also raised around music, with legends like Leadbelly dropping by the family home when he was a kid. Like his dad, he grew into a folk musician whose songs often focus on social issues, with “Alice’s Restaurant” being his best known work. His Juneau show will focus on his dad’s songs, as well as some of his own compositions. His performance will be at 8 p.m. Friday at Centennial Hall. For ticket information, visit www.jazzandclassics.org.

Centennial Hall will also be the venue for the festival’s grand finale performer, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award winner Booker T. Jones. Jones will perform on Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m. (More on Booker T. in next week’s Arts).

In between these two big events, Juneau will be hearing more than two weeks of musical performances. Here’s a look at what’s going on this first week.

This Saturday, the festival continues with All that Jazz!, featuring vocalist Lorraine Feather and jazz pianist Russell Ferrante. They will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at T.K. Maguire’s at the Prospector Hotel.

Also on Saturday the Jasper String Quartet will be playing a free open rehearsal at Heritage Coffee’s Franklin St. location beginning at noon.

On Sunday, the popular Strings at the Shrine event will be held out at the Shrine of St. Therese, featuring the Jasper Quartet and Paul Rosenthal, who will be performing Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18, #4 and Mozart’s Viola Quintet in G Minor. There will be two performances, at 4 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m., Sunday.

Monday kicks off the free Brown Bag Concert Series with the Jasper String Quartet, who will perform at noon on Monday at the State Office Building Atrium. Later that day, the Alaskan Brewing Co. Depot will host another free event, Brew & Beethoven, with the Jasper String Quartet at 5:30 p.m.

The Quartet will head up a string workshop on Tuesday, out at UAS, from 7-9 p.m. for all ages and abilities. Head to the Egan Classroom Wing for this one.

On Wednesday, pianist Richard Dowling and cellist Evan Drachman will be the featured musicians at the noontime Brown Bag Concert at the State Office Building.

That night, pianist Dowling will perform “Ragtime to Rhapsody” at 7:30 p.m. at T.K. Maguire’s at the Prospector Hotel.

And that’s just the first six days!

Check back next week to get details on what’s happening during the second week of the Jazz & Classics Festival.

For ticket information, visit www.jazzandclassics.org.

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