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All-Star Lineup Turns Out for Clifford Coulter Benefit

In Music
The Fairmont in San Jose hosts a benefit for Clifford Coulter Sunday.

The Fairmont in San Jose hosts a benefit for Clifford Coulter Sunday.

Clifford Coulter was there for San Jose back when mainstream pop culture was still asking for directions. A soul-jazz innovator and multi-instrumentalist, Coulter’s 1970 debut album was the polar opposite of “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”—funky, rootsy and ahead of its time, it was firmly grounded in the South Bay with tracks like “Alum Rock Park” and “East Side San Jose” (also the name of the album, and surely the first time the East Side was repped on a major-label release).

Four decades later, San Jose is there for him, too, with this benefit show at the Fairmont.

Coulter is currently in intensive care in Thailand, where he suffered a heart attack, and was diagnosed with heart failure, two blocked arteries and kidney failure. He is recovering from angioplasty and requires dialysis treatment every other day. The benefit will raise money for his treatment in Thailand, along with the cost of getting him back to the States and setting up his necessary medical care here.

The long list of musicians who will appear Sunday would make a fascinating “Six Degrees of Clifford Coulter” flow chart, as befits a man whose career stretches back to John Lee Hooker’s 1959 Folk Blues album). Drummer Ron E. Beck, for instance, produced Coulter’s third album, and has played with both Tower of Power and Carlos Santana. Tony Lindsay, Santana’s vocalist for 20 years, will also perform, as will sax player Danny Hull, who plays with Lindsay in Spangalang. And on and on—from Chester Thompson to Tom E. Politzer to Chris Cain to Margo LeDuc and more—in a forcible show of how respected and beloved is Coulter, and how much of a mark he’s made with his music.

The Clifford Coulter benefit will be held Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, 6:30pm. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

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