Readers of Going Coastal‘s “The World At Your Ears” chapter will be familiar with local musician Yuji Tojo. The guitarist has worked with everyone from Lacy J. Dalton to Babatunde Olatunji on tours, and has released several genre-breaking albums of his own.
Curious readers can watch him perform this coming Saturday, September 3rd as part of the 8th Annual Songfest For Prostate Cancer Awareness at Santa Cruz’s beloved Kuumbwa Jazz Center. He will accompany “The Sultry Songstress” Tammi Brown onstage; catch her show before she leaves for a residency with the Pourpre Noire gospel choir in France this October. Claudio Melega, Steve Kritzer, Rocky Pase and Carol Thorson, and Rhan Wilson’s All In Good Time Orchestra round out the supporting lineup.
The show was conceived by event headliner Joe Ferrara, one of the great Santa Cruz characters. Like many locals, I first met him behind the counter of Atlantis Fantasyworld, the comic book shop he and his wife Dottie have run for 42 years and counting. (He’s a reliable interview subject on all things related to comics, manga, and graphic novels, and I’ve asked him to drop science more than once for articles.) He was a musician first, however, and still manages to record and perform on a regular basis. (Ferrara often sings the national anthem at Giants games, and performs in Capitola and Los Gatos several times a month.) As a survivor of prostate cancer for more than a decade, Ferrara has been instrumental in promoting awareness and research. (At his behest, Marvel Comics will feature a banner promoting prostate cancer awareness on the cover of several limited-edition comics in September.)
The event is free, and will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center is located at 320-2 Cedar Street in Santa Cruz. Visit scprostate.org for more information about the event.