Jul 28, 2023

Tim Curley’s Liner Notes

We lost a good and important one on July 30 when Betty Ann Bruno danced her last dance and joined her ancestors. The Sonoma County hula community has been devastated by the loss.

A public celebration of Bruno’s life will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building from 1 to 4 p.m. Feel free to send me an email to learn details as they become available.

The good people at Sonoma Valley Jazz Society have been producing excellent jazzy concerts in the Valley of the Moon for 34 years. That’s since 1989!

For what it’s worth, the No. 1 song on the Billboard charts the week of Sept. 23, 1989, was “Girl, I’m Gonna Miss You,” by Milli Vanilli.

The Jazz Society, by contrast, works with real music. They have two shows coming up that are worth mentioning. They are bringing Alvon Johnson back to Sonoma, and have Tod Dickow and Charged Particles playing at The Plaza soon.

Johnson is performing at a Jazz at the Barn event, sponsored by the Jazz Society. He is a fiery guitarist. Johnson is a blues player, but not just of the one-note-at-a-time variety. He works with big bands, playing jazz standards and fronts his own band, playing burning blues tunes.

He has made quite a name for himself in Russia, of all places, where he is referred to as “King of the Blues” and the “Ambassador of the Blues.”

Johnson plays on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the barn, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets can be secured at

A bit sooner, and free, is the show at The Plaza on Tuesday, Sept. 12. More on that show will be in a story published here on Sept. 1.

Grammy award winner and jazz vocalist extraordinaire Catherine Russell and her band will make their Valley of the Tunes debut when they play at Denmark Street Barn on Sunday, Sept. 17. The Grenache Day event is hosted by Winery Sixteen 600. The barn doors open at 6 p.m. for this special and relatively intimate event.

Opening the show will be Tony Saunders and the Keystone Band. In addition to the excellent music, there will be an ample food and wine selection, including lots of Sixteen 600 Grenache to drool over. Only 200 tickets will be sold; You can snap a couple up at

The El Verano Inn has hit its stride as the host of a very popular Sunday night event, “Sonoma Sunday Night Jam.” The warm Sonoma midsummer nights allow music lovers to sit outside and enjoy some good, home grown bluesy-based rock 'n’ roll.

Desperate Men is playing there on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.

This Sunday’s free concert at Grinstead Amphitheater, offered by Music in Place, features big band music played by the Local Edition Jazz Orchestra. Named after the San Francisco cocktail bar and music venue where they often play, the orchestra is a nine-piece ensemble, occasionally swelling to a full-sized, 16-piece jazz big band.

Members of the band include players with experience behind Seal, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Zac Brown, Muse, Train, Bob Weir, Santana and the San Francisco Symphony … just to name a few.

As you may know, horns can throw some seriously thrilling volume. The concert Sunday afternoon blasts off at 2:30 p.m.

Local vocalist Max Schimm has assembled an impressive band, every bit as impressive as his tight jeans and leather jacket. Calling the band Strange Daze, Schimm leads it through the highlights of the musical catalog of The Doors. Their recent gig at Murphy’s was brilliant.

Strange Daze plays at Anaba Winery on Friday, Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are being accepted. Call 707-996-4188 to secure a table.

One of the bands I perform with, Long Story Short, will be playing Saturday, Aug. 26 at 2:30 p.m. at Murphy’s Irish Pub. We play a wide cross-section of familiar rock songs, with some country favorites thrown in to add a bit of flavor. I

In addition to me on guitar, we are Curtiss Duff on pedal steel guitar, Marius Pelsma on bass, Jim Holland playing drums, Tom Wolfe on keys and Kerry Daly laying down many of the vocal parts. John Beland will sit in as the “tele guy,” playing lead guitar chops.