Those fearless Kaufer brothers, Lannie and Michael, are on a mission from the gods of American culture. The Kaufers are in the business of roots preservation. Together, and apart, they’ve been responsible over the last few years for corralling renowned blues and jazz acts into Ventura County.
They’re starting out the new year on a good foot. Sunday afternoon, Lannie is bringing blues pianist Charles Brown to his place, Wheeler Hot Springs in Ojai.
A week later, brother Michael, CEO of the Foundation of American Roots Music, will bring harmonica-blowing Charlie Musselwhite around. He will perform Jan. 28 at Alexander’s at 1080 Navigator Road in Ventura as part of the Blue Monday series. The next night, Musselwhite moves to Felix’s at 525 State St. in Santa Barbara for Kaufer’s newly christened “Blues Tuesdays.”
It’s advisable to hold onto your hat in the presence of Musselwhite’s potent harp playing. Calling his recent album “Ace of Harps” (Alligator) was no idle boast. Musselwhite’s swing through town is a coup in Kaufer’s continuing campaign to make the blues a fixture right here in this old beach town.
Brown, the R&B; legend whose heyday in the ‘40s and ‘50s set the stage for the R&B; to come, is in the midst of a full-fledged comeback. He garnered a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and released “All My Life” (Rounder).
Brown is no stranger to these parts. His performance was one of the highlights of the adventurous keyboard extravaganza at Ventura High School known as “8-8-88" (referring to the date and the 88 keys of a piano). He also helped heat up last year’s Bowlful of Blues. Brown’s show at Wheeler’s will afford a chance to see the sleek pianist at close range, in a big living room-like setting where you can bask in the warm aura of Brown’s anecdotal patter.
The Ventura County Concert Band will give one of its four annual free concerts at the Ventura High School Auditorium, 2155 E. Main St., at 3 p.m. Sunday. Directed by Larry Weiss, the band will present a program entitled “Bands Around the World.”
The diverse program runs from “Parada Mexicana” to Richard Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” Prelude to Julius Fuick’s “Florentiner” March and closing with “Bands Around the World,” narrated by band member Bill Schneider. Opening the concert will be the Venturan jazz band known as The Societe for Preservation of Big Bands, basking in the swing-era stuff of Glenn Miller and Harry James.
According to Virginia Donnellan of the Ventura Adult School, the 27-year-old Ventura County Concert Band is a 54-member ensemble “composed of teachers, students, businessmen, homemakers. . . . Some of them are professional, but for many, music is an avocation.”
Speaking of things global, the Andean group Sukay will be coming to Port Hueneme’s Dorill B. Wright Cultural Center, 575 Surfside Drive at 8 p.m. Jan. 24. Founded by vocalist Quentin Howard, the group features Andean folk music staples of pan pipes, guitars and the small stringed instrument, the charango.
Emissaries of Andean music, Sukay is from the Bay Area but is devoted to the musical folklore of Bolivia and Peru. Sukay covers traditional and modern Andean music, including “Condor Pasa.” As popularized by Paul Simon, the tune is probably the best-loved Andean tune to North American ears. For information, 986-6589.
Music is in the air at Moorpark College this month as the Jazz Band plays concerts Friday and Saturday and the MC Orchestra performs Jan. 25 and 26. Both bands are led by Scott Garrison and will play the Forum on campus, 7075 Campus Road. For further information, 378-1410.
And Up The Coast:
* The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra baton is on loan for its upcoming concert Jan. 29 at the Lobero Theater, 33 Canon Perdido, Santa Barbara. Guest conductor/violin soloist Alexander Treger will take the place of the orchestra’s regular conductor, Heiichiro Ohyama.
Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (a post held by Ohyama until recently), Treger will be featured as a soloist on Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, and will lead the ensemble in Wagner “Siegfried Idyll” and the Shostakovich Chamber Symphony for String Orchestra, an arrangement of his String Quartet No. 8.
Treger is a true believer in the virtues of chamber music, as witness his testimonial: “Just as one goes to church every week, one has to be with chamber music--just to clear the mind, the thoughts, the soul.” Information, Lobero box office, 963-0761.
* Also at the Lobero--at 7:30 p.m. Monday--will be Santa Barbara’s newest classical ensemble, the Bach Camerata. The appearance will be the group’s second concert after a debut in December. The camerata will reliably go for baroque, serving up the ever-popular “Four Seasons” of Vivaldi, Bach’s Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in C and Haydn’s Symphony No. 84 in E-flat.