• It should be crystal-clear to anyone paying attention that music education in public schools ain’t what it used to be. Thanks to budget constraints and selfish, child-less people who vote down school levies so they can keep paying for their extravagant satellite TV subscriptions, arts and music studies have been increasingly lessened or cut. Not only does this mean that children our losing out on vital creative stimulation, it also lessens their ability to learn about our country and the rest of the world’s artistic history and classic artforms.
Veteran Jazz musician Bruce Menefield has taken matters into his own hands, forming the Omni Works Music organization to teach about Jazz via after-school programs around the city. Menefield (pictured) teams up with a local school that does recognize the intellectual importance of music education, Walnut Hills High School (thanks to the diligence and vision of the school’s Department Chair, Kerry Kruze, himself a Jazzman), for the first Omni Works Music All Star fundraising event, this Monday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. For the 7:30 p.m. event, Menefield and his Omni Works Music All Stars (which will include Mike Wade, Marc Fields and Billy Larkin) will be joined by the Walnut Hills High School Jazz Band. Your $20 donation at the door will help the school’s Jazz Band as well as OWM’s programshere.)
• Newport’s Southgate House will host a venue-full of excellent local Indie and Alt Rock bands Saturday as four-piece Northern Kentucky crew Heroes and Madmen celebrates its new EP release. The group (formerly named Fickle) will be joined by Ampline, Rosemary Device, Red Meets Green, Caterpillar Tracks, Fists Of Love, State Song and others for the 9 p.m. event. (Get details here.)
• Local Folk music champs Jake Speed and the Freddies have played the first Friday of each month at the Northside Tavern for the past seven years. This Friday, the band plays its “final first”; though they’ll still perform at the club, the “monthly regular night” thing is coming to an end. Speed says he has a lot of great memories of his group’s residency at the Tavern, including debuting songs, celebrating a new CD, witnessing a mid-set marriage proposal, performing their annual baseball-themed show and collaborating with a wide variety of local musicians. “We will definitely return to this venue of vast memories from time to time,” Speed says, “but for now, in the words of Woody Guthrie, it’s ‘So long, it’s been good to know ya.’” Friday’s free show starts at 10 p.m. (freddiesmusic.com)
• Speaking of residencies, the monthly “Artist in Residence” series at the Southgate House’s Juney’s Lounge (which features one local original act playing every Wednesday of each month) continues this week as The Sloes take over A.I.R. duties to close out 2009. The Folk/Roots duo — which blends the traditional with the contemporary quite skillfully and creatively — plays each Wednesday in December at 9 p.m. All shows are free. (myspace.com/thesloes)
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