August is upon us and with it, a month of live music offerings to spin your spurs and motivate you to get out there.
I’ve picked two shows – one is the 15th anniversary celebration of a Portland band; the other is my favorite jazz act out of New York City. You can thank me later.
For my funk-soul brothers and sisters, Sly Chi is celebrating 15 years as a band, and the party is on Saturday night in Portland. They’re bringing back some old members and a slew of guests plan to join in a sweaty, soulful, sensational night.
The band formed after a bunch of like-minded chaps started getting together at a place called The Basement in the Old Port back in 2000. Soon after, they started a Tuesday night gig at The Big Easy that lasted for seven years. They’ve released three albums over the years: “Wave Sound,” “The Space” and “Seven in the Shadows.”
The lineup has changed a little bit since the inception of Sly Chi, and at present they’re a seven-piece funk and soul band that somehow manages to have two guys named Tyler in it – one plays keys and the other sax. There’s also a trumpet player, a bassist, a drummer and a guitarist, and two of those chaps also sing.
A little over two years ago, Andi Fawcett joined the band, and I’ve been a fan since first hearing her sing with the long-gone band Relish 15 years ago. So the merging of Fawcett’s voice with an already crazy-talented band is the quintessential match made in musical heaven.
Congratulations Sly Chi! May you live long and prosper, and may you continue to make people – and their feet – over-the-moon happy with your music.
Sly Chi, 9 p.m. Saturday, Portland House of Music & Events, 25 Temple St., Portland, $8, 21-plus. portlandhouseofmusic.com
ONE OF THE MUSICAL highlights of last summer was a show by jazz band Carte Blanche. They’re out of Brooklyn, New York, but band leader and accordion player Kate Dunphy is from Portland and her mother, Betsy, got in touch about the show. (Moms rule!)
CB is back from playing a party for Gwyneth Paltrow at her house in the Hamptons and a Saudi Arabian princess caught a CB gig the other night in Manhattan.
Carte Blanche is a six-piece ensemble who are into vintage standards and classic French, Latin and American jazz standards from the ’20s through the ’40s. They also have some terrific originals.
Vocalist Cristina Kaminis has the kind of voice you want to keep listening to – colorful and bright. She also sings several tunes en Francais, which are tres bien, to say the very least.
The Carte Blanche lineup includes accordion, violin, guitar, bass and percussion. They’re a first-rate act that put on a fabulous show last summer, and I expect nothing less than that this time.
If you can’t make it to the Saturday night show at Acoustic Artisans, fear not, you can also catch Carte Blanche on the lawn overlooking Crescent Beach when they perform at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth on Sunday as part of its Jazz on the Lawn series.
Watch Carte Blanche
For more on the band, head to www.carteblanchejazzband.com. They’re truly spectacular and wear vintage outfits to further transport you back to the American Golden Age of Jazz or a Paris cafe at midnight circa 1925.
At present Carte Blanche has two CDs out and hope to head back into the studio this winter. Yeah!
Carte Blanche, 8 p.m. Saturday, Acoustic Artisans, 594 Congress St., 2nd floor, Portland, $20. acousticartisans.com
5:30 p.m. Sunday, Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, free. Rain date is Monday. innbythesea.com
8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $25 in advance, $30 day of show. onelongfellowsquare.com
She’s the former lead singer of the early 90s band The October Project and she’s continued to propel her solo career forward thanks to a voice as powerful and stirring as you’ll ever hear. Mary Fahl’s latest album is “Love and Gravity” and she’s also known for an incredible re-interpration of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album.
8 p.m. Wednesday. State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland, $25 in advance, $30 say of show. statetheatreportland.com
He’s a Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with three solo albums and enough popularity that the show had to be moved from Port City Music Hall to The State Theatre. Mac DeMarco’s latest record, “Salad Days” is home to the single “Passing Out Pieces” and the song is heavy with a funky organ and DeMarco’s trippy vocals.
6 p.m. Wednesday. Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, 1 Railroad St., Bangor, $71 to $101. waterfrontconcerts.com
Blues and rock musician Joe Bonamassa is on the road this summer with a stop in Bangor to celebrate the blues. The Three Kings Tour pays homage to blues legendary Kings; Albert, Freddie and of course B.B.
The Grant Gordy Quartet
8 p.m. Wednesday. Acoustic Artisans, 594 Congress St., 2nd Floor, Portland, $20. acousticartisans.com
With Alex Hargreaves on violin, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Ian Hutchinson on bass and Grant Gordy on guitar, The Grant Gordy Quartet is a Brooklyn, New York-based acoustic folk and jazz act. Gordy was part of the legendary David Grisman’s quintet for six years.