April, Jazz Appreciation Month, was celebrated royally in Santa Barbara this year. Starting off with a bang, the fabulous SBJS 2017 Scholarship Award Winner, Dos Pueblos High School Jazz Band, played a couple of dazzling tunes: Guy Noirs’s Brother featuring Tommy Mooy on trombone and Marco Alcaino on alto sax and Junkwagon with Henry Urschel on alto and Shane Samarasena on bass. Thanks to director, Dan Garske, it is clear the jazz is being kept alive and well in our little blue town.

The house band members took over with a swinging Take the A Train featuring tenor sax player Andrew Martinez with Hank Allen on bass, drummers Kevin Winard and Darrell Voss, and Peter Clark on piano. On the next tune, it was nice to hear bassist, Hank Allen playing and vocalizing a soothing version of What Now My Love with Peter and Kevin assisting. Guitarist, Chris Judge came on board for a Latin flavored, The Shadow of Your Smile with tasteful solos by Chris and Peter. Drummers, Kevin and Darrell were featured on a lively version of Juan Tezol’s standard, Caravan.

Debbie Denke soloed on Blackbirdland, a joyous marriage of the Beatles’ Blackbird and Birdland made famous by the Manhattan Transfer. Debbie was joined by Rubin Martinez with the great jazz standard, Green Dolphin Street. Peter then introduced a couple special guests, the young singer, Mary Grace with a lovely Over the Rainbow and pianist and grammy nominee, Christian Jacob, who played Peter’s very pretty ballad, Reflection, with the trio.

Singer, Stu Carey, in his cool hand painted jacket, stopped the show with a wild rendition of Moondance. Scatting with the quartet, it was lively, to say the least. The talented, young pianist, Miles Napier was joined by tenor man, Justin Clavier, bassist, Brendan Statom and the two drummers for a terrific Latin flavored, Invitation. Donna Greene was on hand to sing Hit the Jive Jack, the old Nat King Cole Trio number. Miles was back and featured on a lovely, inventive solo on Dizzy’s, Con Alma. Lito Hernandez joined the band on the jazz standard, Horace Silver’s Nica’s Dream with great percussion by Kevin on drums and Darrell on congas.

The exciting program continued with Kevin’s excellent voice starting off as a ballad and then a swinging, September in the Rain. The finale was a rousing Miles Davis’s Four with most of the singers and band members participating. Thanks to Jazz Society President Peter Clark, It was a most exciting afternoon featuring so much of our amazing local talent.

Spotlight On Santa Barbara

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