Modesto's 11th Street Jazz Fest returns

Music lovers are jazzed that the streets of downtown Modesto will be filled with music this weekend.

The second annual 11th Street Jazz Festival will feature a mix of traditional and New Orleans jazz. Last year, some 1,500 people attended the event, said Ernie Bucio, one of the organizers.

"It's relatively inexpensive for all the music going on," Bucio said. "It was pretty successful for our first year."

On May 22, there will be several artists performing at the Barkin' Dog, Tresetti's World Caffe, the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, all on 11th Street; the Gallo Center for the Arts, at 10th and I streets; and, for the first time, Galletto Ristorante on J Street at 11th Street.

Acts include the Devil Mountain Jazz Band, Creole Jazz Kings, Blue and Beige, Mike Vax with Ernie Bucio's Little Big Band and the BluesBox Bayou Band.

"It's basically a pub crawl," Bucio said. "The bands move around. You can follow them around or sit in one place and let the music come to you."

There also will be a high school jazz festival the same day at the Gallo Center, with students attending workshops with top performers, including featured guests Doreen Ketchens, a classically trained clarinetist who plays traditional jazz in New Orleans, and Jon Faddis, an Oakland-born jazz trumpeter who has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and more.

"These guys have a lot of knowledge and historical technical information they can give the students," Bucio said.

On May 23, everything will happen at the Gallo Center. There will be a meeting of the Modesto Jazz Society, and several bands will play in the lobby.

The festival concludes with a Legends of Jazz concert at 3 p.m. featuring Ketchens and Faddis.

Bucio met Ketchens on several trips to New Orleans. Known as "Lady Satchmo" because her singing style is like Louis Armstrong's, as well as "Queen Clarinet," she performs on the streets of New Orleans and is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Bucio said she is one of the best clarinet players he has heard and he decided to bring her to Modesto.

"I thought, 'People have to hear this,' " Bucio said. "She is too good to just play in New Orleans."

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