Music News & Reviews

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings come to Mondavi

Sharon Jones, who is battling cancer, and her Dap-Kings are at the Mondavi Center.
Sharon Jones, who is battling cancer, and her Dap-Kings are at the Mondavi Center.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have led the revival of soul music from the 1960s and ’70s and have garnered the kind of acclaim and following other artists would only hope for.

In the coming days, Jones and her bandmates will release a seasonal collection called “It’s a Holiday Soul Party” as well as a new documentary, “Miss Sharon Jones.” The holiday record will be released Friday, Oct. 30, the same day she plays the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall. The film will be released Thursday, Nov. 12, at the DOC NYC film festival.

However, all has not been cake and roses for Jones. She underwent chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer in June 2013. The treatment initially postponed the release of the group’s 2014 album – its fifth – “Give the People What They Want,” which was nominated for best R&B album at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.

“It took us a while to get the album done,” Jones said in a phone interview. “We were on the road a lot and then we had to deal with other setbacks, like my health.”

This year, thinking she had beaten the cancer, she learned it had returned.

Jones is not about to let down the bandmates she has played with since 1996, when the Brooklyn-based group that blossomed into the Dap-Kings was formed.

“I just went in for a second visit with the doctor yesterday and the cancer has been slowing down,” she said. “We have gigs lined up in November, and we’re gonna do ’em.

“I have dark spots around my face, but I will put some cover-up on. I also have spots on my hands and my feet as well, but still, thankfully, have my energy. I didn’t want to cancel gigs even though cancer is trying to shoot me down.”

To promote the album, the label released an anime video, “Retreat,” and later the toe-tapping live-action video “Stranger to My Happiness,” for which a glittering and bald Jones refused to wear a wig.

If anyone has propped her up during her health crises, it has been her longtime Dap-King bandmates – Homer Steinweiss (drums), Binky Griptite (guitar), Bugaloo Velez (congas), Dave Guy (trumpet), Joe Crispiano (guitar), Gabriel Roth (bass), Neal Sugarman (tenor), Cochemea Gastelum (baritone), and on vocals Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan.

“When we’re in the studio, we all write together. Sometimes, though, members will have a complete song and bring it in,” said Jones. “Either way, we’re all in this together and we split the music publishing royalties up fairly so everyone gets an equal share. We’re in this as one so that’s how we do it.”

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

When: 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30

Where: Mondavi Center, Davis

Cost: $15.50-$51

Information: 866-754-2787