Archive for January, 2012

American Stage opened its riveting and musically-rich production of Seven Guitars on January 20, and the opening party featured seven of the bay area’s best guitarists. It was seven guitarists for Seven Guitars.

To celebrate the run of the August Wilson play about a struggling bluesman, we’re featuring two of those guitarists this week in the Side Door Cabaret.

Nate Najar

Thursday night – Feb 2 – brings Nate Najar and this trio – John Lamb, bass and Steven Buckholtz,  drums – back to the Side Door. This St. Pete native is always a Palladium favorite. Nate also spends a lot of time playing jazz dates, both as a headliner and a side man, around the country.

Nate loves bringing in special guests and larger bands, but his fans are in love with this trio, which really lets him go to work on bossa novas, standards and some jazz classics. His interaction with Duke Ellington alumni, John Lamb, is always a highlight. 

Showtime is Thursday at 7:30 in our newly refurbished Side Door Cabaret.

Then, on Friday, we bring back another local – this one with a major national and international name. Roy Book Binder spends the winter in his house just north of downtown, doing some gardening and enjoying some time with his wife and friends. Most of the year Roy is touring around the U.S. and Europe, playing acousitc blues guitar, singing and telling his entertaining and amazing stories.

Roy learned from the blues legends – he found Rev. Gary Davis street preaching in New York and became almost an adopted son. Roy not only learned from Davis, he helped the old bluesman – turned preacher – restart his career playing those sinful blues.

Roy Book Binder

When he’s in town, Roy only plays one major show  and that’s always at the Palladium. You can see this living legend of the blues on Friday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Like Nate, he will be on the new stage in our beautiful and intimate Side Door Cabaret.

For information and tickets, contact the Palladium box office at 727 822-3590 or visit www.mypalladium.org.

And don’t miss August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at American Stage. We saw it opening night and plan to return for a second helping. It’s great American theater. The show runs through Feb. 26. For tickets and information visit www.americanstage.org.


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Here’s a review and photos of this great show. Check it out!


(And here’s my story written just before the 1-28-12 concert!)

Hard to believe our annual Boogie Woogie piano show is now in its third year. Each year, the Boogie Woogie Blues Piano Stomp, gets bigger. Last year’s headliner, along with the legendary Bob Seeley, was the great New Orleans piano man, Joe Krown. People are still talking about his Professor Longhair chops.

Michael Kaeshammer

This year, Seeley is back, along with the rising Canadian pianist and bandleader, Michael Kaeshammer, Michael is a handsome, young Canadian who is developing into a major star playing his own songs and interpreting others with a great band. But Kaeshammer started as a boogie woogie pianist and that’s how he met St. Pete’s Liz Pennock, who helps us organize the Stomp.

He heard how much fun our show was and wanted to be part of it – and getting out of Canada in January probably was also some incentive. Anyway, he’s coming down to close the show. He’ll also stay on stage for the jam with all four pianists, taking turns on two grand pianos.

You can check out more on Michael at his website: http://kaeshammer.com

Here’s the what the critics are saying about Kaeshammer’s playing:

“The boogie-woogie pianist best known as a must-see live act reaffirms his true colours here: he’s an R& B hound, particularly if there’s a New Orleans roll to the beat.”  –  Bernard Perusse – Montreal Gazette

“Kaeshammer has piano technique to burn, and has an acrobatic way with a grand piano. –  John Terauds, Toronto Star

Kaeshammer is being hailed as the next big jazz crossover star to come out of Canada.

“The hottest Canadian music export isn’t indie rockers, it’s jazz musicians. First there was Diana Krall, then Michael Bublé and Matt Dusk, and now Michael Kaeshammer has come along…The German-born pianist’s latest could easily be the next big jazz record” – NOW Magazine

Kaeshammer is sharing the Boogie Woogie Stomp bill with Seely and, Liz Pennock (along with guitarist, Dr. Blues), and Craig Brenner, a boogie woogie star out of Indianapolis. Seeley, of course, is the 83-year-old dean of boogie woogie players, who studied with the great Meade Lux Lewis. Brenner has played with Bo Diddley, Buckwheat Zydeco, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Duke Robillard. 

As usual, along with the music, we’ll have a camera crew focusing on their hands moving eight to the bar. Those images will be projected on a big screen behind the players.

It’s my favorite show of the year. Tickets are going fast, so get yours today. At www.mypalladium.org.

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We’ve got two shows coming up in the course of a few days that should be on your “must see” list.

When we booked HAHN-BIN (he uses only capital letters) last summer as part of our Young Concert Artist Series, we thought he was a unique performer – a world-class violinist and performance artist. Since then, the world has taken notice of this 23-year-old protege of Itzhak Perlman.  He has signed with one of the biggest agencies in classical music, he’s appeared on the Today Show, played Carnegie Hall and MOMA in NYC and been featured in The New Yorker magazine.

To get an idea of what you’ll see, check out the review of HAHN-BIN’s recent show at Joe’s Pub in New York. Here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-luce/hahn-bin-performance_b_1139009.html?ref=email_share


As he told Jenna Bush Hager on the Today Show – “I think the classical music world has been sort of taking a nap – and I’m here to wake them up.” Check out that clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo9KRUq2dW0&feature=related

Check out other videos on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKSsL9s67Cs – or at his site: http://hahn-bin.com/

Better yet, see him live and later you can tell people “I saw him at the Palladium before he was such a big star…” His concert  is Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Then on Saturday, we kick off our Broadway Cabaret Series with The Great White Way’s top baritone – Marc Kudisch and his band.

His cabaret show, What Makes Me Tick, has played to rave reviews at Feinstein’s At the Regency and Signature Theater in NYC. Here’s an excerpt from one review:

” In his mind-blowing, entertaining and yet intimate new cabaret show, What Makes Me Tick, Marc Kudisch divulges, among other revelations, that as a young boy, he longed to be Harry Houdini. Well, Mr. Kudisch works magic of a different kind in his delightful show, which is part of Signature Theater’s Sizzin’ Summer Cabaret series. Fresh off a critically-acclaimed run at Feinstein’s at the Regency, Kudisch has fashioned a tribute to songs and artists that have made him “tick” as the Tony-nominated and Helen Hayes Award-winning Broadway and regional musical theater star he is today.

Marc Kudisch

“The title of his cabaret refers to a song cut from The Wild Party (the version composed by Michael LaChiusa), one of Kudisch’s numerous Broadway appearances. Kudisch starts the show teasing the audience with a variety of songs from his childhood that all start with the same downbeat (from Blood Sweat and Tears to Fiddler on the Roof to “Puff the Magic Dragon” to Cabaret).”

Follow this link to read the rest of the review: http://mdtheatreguide.com/2011/08/marc-kudisch-what-makes-me-tick-at-signature-theatres-sizzlin-summer-cabaret/

Or visit his website at http://marckudisch.freakymartian.com/new/

Please make plans to see one or both of these very special shows next week. Tickets are available at www.mypalladium.org.

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Bill Burkette and The Vogues

 For Bill Burkette, lead singer of the The Vogues, his musical career, like his life, has been a series of reinventions.

The Vogues started as high school kids doing R & B demos as the Val-Airs, with help from their high school principal in the Pittsburgh suburb called Turtle Creek. Vocal groups were still the rage and these kids could sing.

“They call it Doo Wop now but we called it Rhythm and Blues back then.  The inspiration was The Dells “Oh What a Night” That’s how the harmonies came about,’ says Burkette, during a phone call from his home in Pennsylvania.

The demos got some traction locally. The first reinvention was a name change, the first and last for the band, which turned them into The Vogues. Burkette says they weren’t named after the fashion magazine but after a local teen club called Vogue Terrace.

By 1966, Burkette and The Vogues were topping the charts with hits like “You’re The One” and “Five O’Clock World.”

Then, the boys from Pittsburgh discovered the hard facts of pop stardom.

“We had a cold spell and in those days if you didn’t have a hit, you died. We learned that the kids are fickle,” Burkette says.

That led to their next big reinvention, as a more adult contemporary group. Same name. Same great vocals but a different style.

And more hits followed. This time – “My Special Angel” and the big one that became a pop standard – “Turn Around, Look At Me.”

“We’re the only group – to my knowledge – that changed direction in mid-stream. We went from light rock in 1968 to contemporary and were successful both ways,” he says.

Those hits let them play major halls and clubs around the country and had staying power. The group has been doing shows – sometimes more, sometimes less – ever since.

Not wanting to rely on music entirely, Burkette reinvented himself personally, taking a “Five O’Clock World” job in sales. He married and raised a family.

And now, with his kids grown, he and Hugh Guyer, another of the original members, are on the road and playing to crowds of all-ages.

“We work these concerts throughout the country today, you’d be surprised the ages. There are people in their ‘20s and ‘30s and then you see people in their 70s and 80s. When I’m singing lead on “You’re The One” and “Five O’Clock World” they are singing along,” Burkette says. 

The traveling is still rough, but he brings his wife now, and when he’s on stage he’s having fun, just as he did when it all started back in high school.

Bill, Hugh Geyer and the rest of the band, will be on-stage at the Palladium, playing and singing their hits, on Saturday, Jan. 14 starting at 8 p.m. Amanda Nikka, the Fox News Bay Area finalist for The X Factor, will open the show with a tribute to American’s armed forces and veterans. Amanda attends St. Pete High.

For tickets and more information check out www.mypalladium.org or call the box office at 727 822-3590.

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