Music in San Jose!

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an improv show, or even an adventurous jazz show, in San Jose. I stopped even looking for such things years ago. Now I’ll get my chance, thanks to Jim Ryan.

There’s an art space called Works San Jose, at 451 S. First St., where Ryan will present two bands on Friday, July 10:

1. The Spirit Moves Us — The trio of Ryan (sax/flute/kalimba), Bob Marsh (cello), and the single-named Spirit (drums).

2. The Left Coast Improv Group — described as an “experimental chamber ensemble,” this is a resurrection of Ryan’s improvising combo, which was always made up of a rotating cast of characters. This time it’s a large group: cello, trombone, trumpet electronics, Michael Cooke doing his thing on the sheng again, and “others.”

A calendar listing can be found here.

Works San Jose seems to be the kind of arts space that fits experimental music — although it looks like the music events they’ve hosted there have been techno or singer/songwriter material. Which is in line with San Jose’s suburban nature.

Not to rag on Works. I’m thrilled they’re giving creative music a chance and would love to see more of it happen. It’s just that San Jose’s surrounding culture is more stifling than those of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. The San Jose Jazz Festival drives the knife even deeper; it’s well-meaning but tightly boxed in, consciously catering to the food-and-crafts summer crowd.

(The SJ Festival does try to give a nod to new directions, but they’re usually jazzy hybrids with hip-hop or world music, not free jazz. I’ll give them credit for booking Panthelion this year; that band sounds interesting.)

(Digressing further, this seems an appropriate spot to give a big, big thank you to The Blank Club just for being there. It’ll be host to The Melvins on the first night of the SJ Festival.)