On Sunday, March 8th, Jim Hudak took a "trip to the fringe," as he describes it, performing with renowned poet-musician Tazuo Yamaguchi in Clayton, CA. Their performance was part of the final day of activities in conjunction with the Creekside Arts Celebration at the Clayton Library performance hall. Yamaguchi, a full-blooded Japanese who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, captured the audience with his unique poems about Hiroshima, philosophy, art, and life in general. But the excitement went up a notch when Hudak joined him and added keyboard sounds to Yagamuchi's lyrical phrasings. The two engaged in a call-response mode for nearly 15-minutes, with Yagamuchi expressing a verbal Haiku and Hudak "responding" with improvised musical acknowledgement in a most engaging fashion. The audience was held spellbound. Applause after each Haiku was warm and palpable. Hudak and Yamaguchi have already talked of collaborating and songwriting in the future. After the poetry, Hudak performed a 30-minute solo set on keyboard and guitar, which was also well received. He mixed some of his best known original songs ("Never Had A Bad Day") with some of his more rarely performed obscure musical masterpieces ("Highway Fever" and "Seasons," co-written with lyricist Dan Erikson) before closing the set on his Fender Telecaster guitar with "Wild About My Lovin'" and "Ring Of Fire." What followed next was more musical magic. Hudak was rejoined by Yamaguchi, the latter performing on percussion while adding some spot-on vocalizing, and several other musicians on assorted instruments. Especially noteworthy was an appearance by the bass player extraordinaire, Dennis Tuohino. Tuohino has performed several times at concerts with Hudak over the past five years, and provided the bass tracks on three of the songs from Hudak's latest CD, "Bridging Textures." He's a gifted musician who held down the bottom end of the "jam" group admirably. By the time the jam session fully kicked in, some unique and powerful music was being created by an ensemble consisting of piano, bass, percussion, saxophone, and vocals. A good time was had by all, and plans are already being made for the musical lineup for next year's Creekside Arts Celebration. The proceeds from the CAC go to help support Clayton's library. Artists from all over the region display their work, and the event is organized each year by Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen. She donates countless hours to the Clayton Library and to this event, and is to be commended for her superlative efforts on behalf of the library and of the many talented artists in the Clayton area.

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