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Weekend forecast: Happy birthday, Mr. Lamb

Bill DeYoung



John Lamb and other members of the Tampa Bay jazz community will celebrate the musician and educator's 90th birthday Saturday at the Palladium Theater. File photo.

Although he’s in the history books for the decade he spent playing standup bass with Duke Ellington in the 1960s and early ‘70s, John Lamb’s greatest accomplishments – in his mind, anyway – were as an educator. Post-Ellington, he was a Pinellas County music teacher and band director for 27 years.

“Regardless of what a person goes into, I think they do a certain amount of teaching,” Lamb told the Catalyst five years ago, on the occasion of his 85th birthday.  “Whether it’s in a school, or privately, somebody’s paying attention, somebody’s learning from them. They may be aware or they may not be aware.”

The Tampa Bay area’s tightly-knit jazz community, of which Lamb has been a beloved member for decades, is throwing a party Saturday in honor of his 90th birthday.

The birthday concert, at 8 p.m. in the Palladium Theater’s Hough Hall, will feature Bryan J. Hughes, Nate Najar, James Suggs, Jean Bolduc, John O’Leary, Trace Zacur and others who’ve been influenced by, and shared the stage with, the master musician.

In that earlier conversation, Lamb was asked if a musician, despite his or her age and experience, ever really stops learning. “I learn more about myself now than I do the instrument, because I have to produce the sounds,” he said. “I learn more about me, my thinking, my physical body, my mental body, my spiritual body, what I want to say musically. I think about all those levels. I just don’t think about learning scales. I don’t do that any more.

“For a bass player, there are only 12 notes. You learn your 12 notes, you know?”

Find information and tickets here.


No tickets

Singer/actress Tarra Conner Jones’ one-woman show From Birmingham to Broadway, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at freeFall Theater, is completely sold out.

Actor Will Oldham, who has made some of the most intriguing lo-fi Americana records of the last 20 years using the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has a rare solo show under that musical moniker at 8 p.m. Friday in the intimate Side Door Café. It, too, is sold out.

Just as sold out are the comedian Leanne Morgan’s two Tampa Theatre shows, Saturday and Sunday.

Violinist Stella Chen guests with The Florida Orchestra Friday and Saturday. Publicity photo.

Where’s the orchestra?

Violinist Stella Chen is guest soloist with The Florida Orchestra for Barber’s Violin Concerto, Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa (8 p.m., Ferguson Hall) and Saturday (8 p.m.) at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Conducted by Earl Lee, the program also includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Valentin Silvestrov’s Prayer for Ukraine. Tickets.

There’ll be a live orchestra in the Straz Center Saturday, too, in Morsani Hall. This one is touring with a high-definition digital print of the 1989 Batman film, from director Tim Burton. The band will perform Danny Elfman’s score as the movie plays. Tickets.


On theater stages

It’s the final weekend for the ThinkTank production of She Kills Monsters, inspired by the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, at Stageworks. Find tickets here.

Opening Friday is Jobsite Theater’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, in the Straz Center’ Jaeb Theatre (read all about it here).

There are performances of the dark, one-person drama Nocturne today through Sunday at thestudio@620 (read all about it here).



Folk music legend Judy Collins appears tonight (Thursday, Jan. 18) at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater; comedian Pat McGann makes his Capitol debut Friday. Mr. Big plays the venue Sunday, with Robin Taylor Zander. Find Capitol Theatre tickets here.

The 50th anniversary of the band Kansas is observed Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, with a concert by a band called Kansas that includes the original drummer and one of the original guitar players, the only remaining links to the band’s hit-making years in the 1970s. They own the name and the logo. Tickets.

Saturday at Ferguson Hall in the Straz Center, it’s Mediterranean musician and singer Pavlo in performance. The performer of Greek/Canadian descent has been featured in several PBS specials. Tickets.

The Weekend Forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

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You can also submit your events to the Catalyst calendar, by clicking here.



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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Clive Morton

    January 18, 2024at4:34 pm

    Congratulations to John Lamb from 88 yeear old bassist Clive Morton .Looking good John.

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