Good music coming to benefit Faith Food Fridays – Times-Herald

Members of the local Vallejo community are invited to come out Saturday to the Empress Theater for an evening of “Jazz, Blues, and Food,” a benefit for a great local charity that provides meals for those in need, at an event that also promises to deliver some tasty tunes and nourishing noodling on the stage as well.

Benefiting Faith Food Fridays, a non-profit organization that helps Vallejo area neighbors in need with free boxes of food and other necessities, along with resource referrals and positive encouragement, the concert will feature saxophonists Paula Atherton and Dean James, Suspects of Soul, and guitarist Joel Del Rosario and his band.

Faith Food Fridays estimate they help more than 600 families each week, and are open to the public at 826 Solano Ave. in Vallejo from 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays, 11 am to 5 pm on Fridays, and for drive-through only from 11 am-1 pm on Sundays.

“I’m really excited about our first-ever fundraiser concert on Saturday! We invite everybody to join us and enjoy some extraordinary music from extra-talented musicians and singers. It promises to be a great time for a good cause!” said Benjamin Buggs, Founder and Director of Faith Food Fridays.

Paula Atherton, who hails from New York, released her sixth album, “Can You Feel It?” in 2020, and has had five singles in the Billboard Top 30 Jazz Charts over the years. After she performed last December at a show put on by local promoter Jerome “Triple J” Widman, he invited her to return for this benefit, which he is helping organize.

“I try to do good things in the world with my music, so when he told me it was a benefit to help feed the needy, I said, ‘Okay, I’m in!” said Atherton.

Although Dean James grew up in San Jose and San Francisco, he turns out that he hasn’t performed much in the Bay Area, having settled in the Houston area after attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston and then working as an accomplished session musician in Los Angeles for many years.

James’ family still lives locally, and he is looking forward to helping raise money for a good cause as well.

“I’m all for what Faith Food Fridays stands for, and anything that supports families like they do,” said James. “And as far as the concert, I’ll be surrounded by some great musicians, so I’m looking forward to that.”

“I’ve got quite a few of my eighth-grade classmates coming out to see me perform, too!” laughed James.

Jazz saxophonist Dean James performs on Saturday night at the Empress Theater in Vallejo (Contributed).

Widman, who also hosts a jazz show on Ozcat Radio, will also be acting as guest emcee for the event in addition to helping bring the talent together for the evening.

“I want to do things that will help veterans because I’m a veteran,” said Widman. “And I like to do community service because Vallejo is such a beautiful city.”

If You Go: “Jazz, Blues and Food” takes place at 5:30 pm Sat. June 25 at the Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo. Tickets start at $27.50. For more information, visit empresstheatre.org.

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