MOJA JAZZ & REGGAE
The 2008 MOJA Festival's live music series kicks off on Fri. Sept. 26 at the U.S. Custom House (200 East Bay Street) with the popular Reggae Block Dance event — an evening of live reggae and Caribbean rhythms with bands, African drummers and dancers, ethnic foods, and international crafts from 7-11 p.m. Acclaimed saxophonist Kirk Whalum shares the stage with local acts The Quentin Baxter Trio and Daniel Davis at the Cistern (66 George St.) on Sat. Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. (see feature on p. 61). John Street Jazz brings Ann Caldwell & Loose Fitt to Gallery Chuma (43 John St.) for two sets at 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Sun. Sept. 28. Next week's events include a Jazz Cruise with sax player Curtis Inabinett and A Touch of Class on the harbor aboard the Spirit of Charleston on Wed. Oct. 1, and the Finale at Hampton Park on Sun. Oct. 5 with country music vocalist Rissi Palmer and Caribbean steel band Tropical Steel Vibes. Check out www.mojafestival.com for full details.
CHUCK FM MOVES TO 101.7
It's been just over a year since local company Apex Broadcasting planned to switched their longtime 96 Wave (96.1 FM) rock format to an "Adult Hits" (a.k.a. "Variety Hits" or "Classic Hits") format under the name Chuck FM. The station "plays everything" (a computer playlist zig-zags from one Top 40 hit to another ... no jocks, no back-announcing, and no explanations). Apex announced that Chuck FM was "moving across the dial" on Mon. Sept. 22 to the new frequency of 101.7 FM. According to a news release from the station, Apex Operations Manager Bryan Taylor says the decision for the move is two-fold. "Our listeners benefit from the move because the 101.7 frequency offers an improved coverage area and 100,000 watt signal for Chuck FM," he says. "Additionally, the 96.1 frequency will move to the Myrtle Beach market, and that will allow us to put on a new station in the Charleston market later this year on 95.9 FM." Apex Broadcasting currently operates three FM stations and one AM station in the Charleston market. After some technical upgrades to their transmission facilities, the company's new station at 95.9 FM is scheduled to be on the air before the end of the year. Could it be another groundbreaking rock-oriented station with actual DJs? We'll stay tuned... Check out www.apexbroadcasting.com and www.961chuckfm.com for more.
DARIUS GOES SOLO
Last week, Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker released a new solo album titled Learn to Live (his first project for Capitol Records Nashville), a collection of melodic and melancholic ballads and tunes. The video clip for "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" finds Rucker singing and strumming in an open field beneath a sunset, singing about "the work and the hurt, and the whiskey..." with the sound pedal steel wailing in the background. "This CD is a journey," Rucker says. "I realized I'm 42. I'm not going to write many songs about drinking, chasing girls, or booty calls. I was going to write songs about having kids and stuff — songs about life." Guest musicians on the album include Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, and Alison Krauss. It's warm stuff, straddling the Americana/pop/new-country boundaries. Rucker and local openers Crowfield perform a concert at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Fri. Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets for reserved seats are on sale for $45 and $35 at the Coliseum ticket office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and select Publix stores, by phone at (843) 554-6060, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Check out www.coliseumpac.com for more.
BARKER IN CRASH
Former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM (a.k.a. Adam Goldstein) were in bad plane crash last week that left them both in critical condition. The incident happened Fri. Sept. 19 when their Concord jet crashed during takeoff from the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Investigators are trying to determine whether a blown tire caused the crash. Four died in the accident. Barker and Goldstein are being treated at the Joseph Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.
JAZZ AT PAWLEYS
Brazilian-born singer, guitarist, and composer Duda Lucena headlines Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art's Jazz Under the Oaks event at 4 p.m. on Sun. Sept. 28. Lucena has recently established himself as one of the more popular jazz performers in the Charleston scene. Lucena's talented combo features drummer Quentin Baxter, upright bassist Kevin Hamilton, and pianist Gerald Gregory. Their gigs were highlights during the locally-produced Upstairs at Mistral series during this year's Piccolo Spoleto. Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art takes place at Litchfield Plantation on Avenue of Live Oaks in Pawleys Island. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.pawleysmusic.com or by phone at (843) 237-4774. Visit www.dudalucena.com for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann