San Francisco’s rich music history is infused with Jazz, Blues, and Rock n’ Roll. Sublime and soaring local guitarists from Lowell Fulson to Carlos Santana, Joe Louis Walker, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Bonnie Raitt, Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Courtney Love, Joe Satriani, and Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), among many greats, expanded music’s vocabulary and celebrated the guitar’s place in American music.
San Francisco’s next addition to its list of guitar luminaries is Brazilian born, jazz-inspired, self-taught San Franciscan, Jose Simioni, now playing with The Fresno Alley Band. Simioni’s mother shut down his musical education after four lessons telling him he was bad. Quickly, he turned his dissapointment and anger into higher guitar education with the help of four hippie jazz guitarists living down the street. Simioni has the light, emotive touch of jazz guitar greats Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, and the insistent energy of San Francisco’s greatest players.
San Francisco musicians say Simioni is one of the most musical in town. He is, he has it. He says, “It’s about the music, not about me.” And it is true. All of it is true. His life is practice. Recently, I had the pleasure of flowing with his inspired, extended versions of “People Get Ready” and “Sonny” at San Francisco’s legendary Saloon.
Simioni’s trio, The Fresno Alley Band, with Tony Stead (Sly Stone’s greatest keyboard player for my money), and propulsive drummer Dylan Garrison driving the rhythm, is hot and tight and going wherever they want to. Their stunning music makes life much better. The Fresno Alley Band plays the Saloon on Fresno Alley every Wednesday 4-8. Jose plays at Belle Cora, Ricks and venues throughout San Francisco.