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It finally looks like the skies are clearing, and just in time for the best weekend of the year. Every Memorial Day weekend, the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society hosts the biggest jazz party this side of the divide, featuring incredible bands from all over the county. As a sometimes musician and full-time jazz fan, here are my best bets for the most entertaining shows of the weekend.
Friday 7–11 p.m.: Zydeco Party at the Freeway Gardens. Bring your dancing shoes and your best Cajun accent for the opening night party that’s always is sure to please. Three bands, and plenty of dancing.
Saturday 8:30 p.m.: Molly Ringwald Quintet at the Hyatt Ballroom. Come check out the Sacramento native and ’80s darling belt out some jazz standards for your enjoyment. Odds are you’ll see her father Bob there, an incredible piano player and staple in the local traditional jazz scene.
Friday–Sunday 10 p.m.: Bill & Eddie at the Paddlewheel Saloon. Climb aboard the Delta King to see these two banjo virtuosos. Perennial festival favorites, Bill Dendle and Eddie Erickson put on a memorable display of banjo technique and comedy chops each night of the festival for a packed house of devoted fans.
Sunday 7–11 p.m.: Latin party at the Firehouse Lot. Come check out three separate Latin bands at one of the festival’s most fun venues. Drinks, dancing and plenty of Latin flare.
During the day, make sure to check out San Francisco swing band Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums, Los Angeles-based favorites the Reynolds Brothers’ Rhythm Rascals, Cornet Chop Suey playing hot jazz from St. Louis, and the blonde bombshell who channels Louis Armstrong through her trumpet, Bria Skonberg from Vancouver.
Check out sacjazz.com for details, maps, schedules, artist profiles and all other things jubilee related.