FAIRFIELD — The 2nd Planet band is on a mission to let local residents know good jazz music can be found without hitting the freeway and heading toward the San Francisco Bay.
The band will play Saturday at Sticky Rice Bistro. The quartet will open for Michael Manring and Ray Obiedo at the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts on Aug. 30.
Drummer Michael Hester wishes the area had a jazz club and praises venues such as Sticky Rice for welcoming bands such as 2nd Planet.
“There’s room for all of us,” he said.
The band formed in 2000 and loves to mix genres. That’s understandable, since their musical influences run the gamut, from Jimi Hendrix to Wes Montgomery.
“We try to blend funk, rock, R&B and blues all under one umbrella of jazz,” said guitarist Clarence Williams.
Jazz is the most improvisational genre of music, Williams said.
“There are so many different forms of it,” Hester said.
The question is where to start, Williams said. From ragtime to cool jazz and even cooler jazz and staples such as Miles Davis.
Then there are the new jazz stars such as Brian Culbertson, who started the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, and pianist Robert Glasper, Williams said.
Playing jazz was new to Marvin Eguia, the group’s keyboard player. He brought a blues and contemporary Christian music background with him. He played with the Matty T Band for five years.
He had listened to jazz, but hadn’t tried it on the keyboards until an ex-member of 2nd Planet brought him on board.
It’s a work in progress, he said.
“The chord structure is way off,” Eguia said.
Eguia said it took some time getting used to the new genre. The more he played jazz, the more he wanted to play more jazz, he said.
If he wasn’t playing Aug. 30, Eguia said he’d be in Vacaville, listening to Taj Mahal at the Theatre DeVille.
Bassist and lead vocalist George Franklin is the newest member. His bandmates teased him about not earning his 2nd Planet T-shirt.
“This is a tough group,” he said. “I just show up and play.”
He loves the diversity in the band’s songs. About 90 percent of what 2nd Planet plays are original tunes.
Franklin and his wife, Tracy Franklin, recorded “Always” under the name GTF in 2008.
Growing up in 1970s Los Angeles exposed him to many types of music, Franklin said.
Hester started playing the drums when he was 13 and was influenced by Jimmy Cobb and Roy Haynes.
Life intervened when he began pharmacy school in 1978 and drumming took a back seat to work and family life until the 1990s.
Damon Rentie, the original saxophonist for Atlantic Starr, will also perform.
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