Santa Barbara has had more than its share of calamities of late, but with last Sunday’s fire so close to home, we could see a ray of sunshine through the smoke. With the closure of highway 101, the Hollywood Jazz Quartet was forced to postpone their concert. We were so lucky to book the local band, The Idiomatiques, to fill in. The guys collectively rose to the occasion with their super entertaining performance. Besides being fantastic musicians, they put on a great show complete with humor and jazz education.
Basest and MC, Kim Collins, kept the momentum rolling along with a little jazz history mixed with some snide comments, all in fun of course, aimed at other members of the group which they returned with a vengeance. Drawing mostly from the famous guitarist, Django Reinhardt, the band romped through many of his Gypsy jazz numbers from the 30’s and 40’s. Most were upbeat, but some were slow and beautiful like Maracas, an original by the accordionist extraordinare, Brian Mann. What can I say about Brian? He is an amazing player who plays that very difficult instrument with so much exsuberence, and fantastic improvisation, it mades me dizzy,… AND I have to throw away all my accordion jokes too! The eclectic band even included selections from Ellington, Irving Berlin, and not to be left out, The Beatles!
Back to Kim…he’s a fantastic musician as well as a well known jazz educator. It was fun hearing him solo on his bass as well as whistling reviving the old jazz favorite, Bob Haggard’s Big Noise From Winnetka. Also, in a cool part of the program, Kim asked for any word from the audience and proceeded to compose a song using the word, “eggnog” complete with rhyming… immediately…pretty amazing! The lead guartist, Craig Sharmat also a fine musician, played skillfully and sometimes at breakneck speed. One of his slower numbers is the favorite Django composition, Nuages…LOVELY! Rhythm guitarist, George Quiren/Le Pump, kept the group together with his amazing time-keeping, usually the task of a drummer. George is best known as a classical Spanish guitarist and displayed his fantastic talent on the beautiful tune, Indifference.
The Idiomatiques are a VERY talented bunch and are now being recognized for the originality and talent they deserve. One of their CD’s was on Billboard’s Top 30 for 11 weeks and the ONLY Gypsy jazz to even make the grade. If you haven’t seen and heard them, or even if you have, you can catch them at the Good Lion Restaurant on the first and third Thursday evenings. They will bring a smile to your face!