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July 4-10, 2007

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Music Picks

Summer in the City, Jazz on the Plazz, Stanford Lively Arts and Chris Isaak

Summer in the City: LOCATED AT the new courthouse square in downtown Redwood City, "Summer in the City" is a new series of summer events that include live music, movies and art. Beginning on Fridays at 5pm, Art on the Square transforms downtown into an outdoor gallery as artists exhibit their work in the square. Then, on Fridays at 6pm, the Music on the Square series boasts performances from an array of local and national musicians. The free concerts include salsa, jazz, Celtic, blues, folk, country and rock performances. On July 6, Handful of Luvin' performs. The Seattle-based foursome combines Gypsy, folk, reggae and rock influences. Future concerts on the square include ZeBop, City Rocks, California Cowboys, Freesound, Men of Worth and the Bluestate Band. In concert with Music on the Square, the "Summer in the City" experience continues with movies on Wednesday evenings at sundown, when classics like Back to the Future, E.T. and North by Northwest are projected on a 25-foot inflatable screen. Bring a blanket and some local takeout to fully enjoy the new courthouse square movie night. (Kate Leary)

Summer in the City happens Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the summer at the courthouse plaza in Redwood City. For a full schedule, visit

Jazz on the Plazz: THE TIRELESS team behind the annual Jazz on the Plazz free Wednesday night concert series has an extra item on its plate this year: In conjunction with Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club, they're hosting "An Evening of Legends," the legends in question being the much-loved blues-jazz pianist/vocalist Mose Allison and the groundbreaking political comic Mort Sahl. This show, a benefit for the after-school teen hangout the Venue, takes place July 10 from 7 to 10pm at Wozland, the former home of Apple founder Steve Wozniak. Advance tickets are $150, available through 408.354.1155. Mind you, Mose Allison's shows tend to be habit-forming, which is why Jazz on the Plazz is bringing this so-called "William Faulkner of jazz" to Los Gatos Town Plaza the following night for a free concert. Mose has all the blues mojo you'd expect from a man born on the Mississippi Delta, yet his collaborations with jazz masters like Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan and Al Cohn attest to the fact that he's got plenty of swing to match. Zero dollars, zero chance of disappointment—sound like a deal? Once you've digested the Mose experience, you're invited to return to the "plazz" each Wednesday to catch the remaining shows in the series: Paula West with Full Spectrum Jazz (July 18), pianist/vocalist John Proulx (July 25), vocalist Roseanna Vitro with Anton Schwartz (Aug. 1), singers Nancy Kelly and Giacomo Gates (Aug. 8), Monterey Jazz Festival High School All Stars (Aug. 15), vocalist Andrea Wolper and New West Guitar Quartet (Aug. 22) and legendary pianist/vocalist Diane Schuur (Aug. 29), whose 3 1/2-octave vocal range has earned her two Grammy awards for Best Jazz Vocalist. All performances begin at 6:30pm and go until 8:30pm. Kids are welcome to listen in on sound-checks and chat with the artists before each show from 3 to 4pm. (Damon Orion)

For more information about Jazz on the Plazz, visit

Lively Fall at Stanford: IN ADDITION to the many visiting performers, the 2007-08 Stanford Lively Arts series begins with a world-premiere collaboration between composer Philip Glass and troubadour Leonard Cohen. The multimedia piece, called Book of Longing, was co-commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts and combines the minimalist urges of Glass with the poetry and visual designs of Cohen, with Glass himself supplying the piano accompaniment. It will be performed on Oct. 9. In another coup, Stanford Lively Arts also presents the premiere of the latest work by Bay Area composer John Adams, Nov. 30. Son of Chamber Symphony will be performed by Alarm Will Sound, a two-score-strong new-music ensemble. Other highlights of the season are performances by the Turtle Island Quartet (Feb. 16), the Kin Zing Dance Theatre (April 26), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Jan. 27) and Rosanne Cash (March 12). Also look for a Stravinsky Festival with pianist Alexander Toradze that will run for three days (March 7-9). (Michael S. Gant)

Stanford Lively Arts begins its 2007-08 season on Oct. 9. See for schedule details and ticket information.

Chris Isaak: CHRIS ISAAK is one of those lucky few musicians who hit the big time without ever having to become part of the freak-show circus. You won't see him prancing around stage in tight leather pants, and his face doesn't grace the cover of trashy tabloid magazines every six months. No, the down to earth retro-rocker is perfectly content crooning his ballads free of all the gimmicks that most pop stars seem utterly reliant upon. Well, there is one gimmick that Isaak won't pass up: sex. Who can forget that steamy music video that accompanied the '90s megahit, "Wicked Game"? As my girlfriend says, "It's like, hot." Yes, hot. A dripping wet Helena Christianson (who is also topless, I might add) squirms around on a beach while Isaak, looking like an all-American model himself, lures her in with his drawling vocals. In the end, the two half-naked hotties find themselves in a sultry embrace, giving us all a very good reason to fall in love with Isaak's luscious, umm, melodies. With nine chart-topping albums to his credit, it's no wonder the Bay Area native calls himself lucky—we just wish he'd release another music video. Catch the handsome balladeer all weekend at Saratoga's Mountain Winery. (Garrett Wheeler)

Chris Isaak performs on Friday-Sunday (July 6-8) at 7:30pm at Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga. Tickets are $50-$80. (408.998.TIXS)

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