The coming of the fall season means a new and always exciting season of Live at the Library, the annual concert series that benefits the Alameda Free Library and brings outstanding talent to the Island.
"It's going to be a really great program," said Ruth Belikove, a co-organizer of the shows. "The guitar summit should be especially interesting since the musicians chose to do the show together. It's another exciting season with lots of variety."
Jazz vocalist Jamie Davis will take the stage on Sept. 20, followed by the Marcus Shelby Trio on Oct. 11 and a trio of guitarists Terrence Brewer, Steve Erquiaga and Calvin Keys on Nov. 15.
Davis, a native of Ohio, has a bass baritone voice. He's sung with the Count Basie Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra and Big Band, and other groups. He's performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Blue Note in New York, Milan and Tokyo, and Ronnie Scott's in London.
Appearing with Davis will be pianist Glen Pearson, drummer Leon Joyce, bassist John Shifflett and Roger Glenn on saxophone and vibraphone.
"He has a gorgeous voice," said co-organizer Eileen Savel, "and a long history of performing. Plus, his pianist is a real treat to hear."
In October, the Shelby Trio will appear, along with jazz and blues singer Kim Nalley. An accomplished teacher and bassist, Shelby was a bandleader for Columbia Records and now composes work for various performing arts groups. He also serves as music director for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival Freedom Jazz Choir.
"Shelby has such a great personality and is very busy around the Bay Area in the arts scene and in the schools," Belikove said. "He is an eminent figure in the jazz world and will talk about the contributions jazz has made to American culture."
"We'll also have three outstanding guitarists, who've played all over the world," Savel said. "We've wanted to do this guitar summit for years."
The library's guitar show in November will feature Oklahoma native Brewer, who's released a Wes Montgomery tribute album and performed at the Monterey, Russian River, San Francisco and Fillmore jazz festivals. The guitarist also has worked with singers Diana Krall, Michael McDonald and Mary Wilson. He teaches at Stanford University and other schools.
Another performer for the November event, Erquiaga, is from the Bay Area and has toured with musicians like Bobby McFerrin, Joe Henderson and David Byrne. He's also appeared at the Berlin, Montreux and North Sea jazz festivals and has recorded several albums with the Andy Narell Group, which plays Caribbean-inspired jazz. The guitarist teaches at the Jazzschool in Berkeley.
The final guitarist for the summit hails from Omaha, Nebraska, but moved to Oakland in 1974. Keys has played with Preston Love of the Count Basie Orchestra, organist Charles Earland and pianist Ahmad Jamal.
In addition to performing with these jazz greats, Keys has worked with contemporary singers Luther Vandross and MC Hammer and has recorded many albums.
"All three of the Live at the Library shows should be very special," Belikove said. "And they sell out quickly, so we ask community members to get their tickets soon at the Main Library or Books Inc."
Tickets can also be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Books Inc. on Park Street has a big event of its own coming up at 7 p.m. Thursday, when popular crime novelist James Ellroy will be in the bookstore to meet fans. The author, who wrote the bestsellers "L.A. Confidential" and "The Black Dahlia," has just published "Perfidia," which is set in Los Angeles in December 1941.
Also on Park Street, Capone's Speakeasy opened its doors on Aug. 30. The Roaring Twenties-themed lounge serves food and cocktails most evenings, as well as brunch on Sundays.
Nearby, Café Fudgelato closed its doors after seven years of sharing sweet treats and more. And over on Lincoln Avenue, Thomsen's Garden Center is set to end its business on the Island soon. The nursery opened in 1943. Current owners Iris and John Watson have operated the nursery for more than 30 years and are retiring.