A casino felt more like a fine arts center on Thursday night.
The Jerry McGuire Trio played flamenco and jazz before a small but appreciative audience in the Crystal Bay Casino. It was the first in a monthly series of acoustic performances in the Red Room, which features a Gamble DCX console and Meyer sound. There was no smoking, gaming or bar service during the two-set performance, which has listeners sitting on the edges of their seats in appreciation of the music.
“Every once in a while you see something that restores your faith in music and this was one of those nights,” said Larry Aynesmith, the founder and president of the Sierra Nevada Guitar Society.
Aynesmith said he will bring a wide variety of acoustic music to the Red Room, including world and classical. It has not been determined if the acoustic music will be on a certain day of the week, but Thursday seemed fine. On the other side of the casino, sports fans watched the opening night of the NFL season on the screens in the Crown Room, which is CBC’s venue for larger music concerts.
McGuire, a former rock guitarist influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, said he is considered “the black sheep of flamenco.” Nicknamed “El Rubio,” McGuire colored the Red Room between songs with stories of flamenco styles and players.
McGuire said he nearly moved to Los Angeles to find work but lucked out when he discovered a rhythm section living in his Oakland neighborhood. He teamed up with drummer Marlon Aldana and upright bass player Paul Martin Sounder in 2014, and the group was nominated for the Bay Area Izzie Award for Best Ensemble.
“The (Red) room is dark but nice,” McGuire said. “It’s a nice room for a jazz band kind of thing. You do not have the standing waves (of sound) you get with a square-shaped room. … With the no-talking (policy), it reminded me of playing in the Blue Whale in L.A.”
Aynesmith said he appreciated Casino Manager Bill Wood for providing the venue with its outstanding sound system.
“We feel that there is a need for more acoustic shows on the North Shore and together we hope to provide a monthly evening of wonderful music to all those desiring a more relaxed acoustical setting,” Wood wrote in a press release that announced the first show.