New Orleans in the house, and classrooms
New Orleans-ian saxophonist Derek Douget returns to the Lobero Theatre in concert tonight, capping off a week of educational workshops around the county.
When: 8 p.m., today
Where: Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.
Tickets are $25, $12 for students
Info: 963-0761, www.lobero.com
Consider this the season when Santa Barbara becomes privy to six degrees of Marsalis, the eminent jazz family. Last fall, the famed family kingpin Wynton Marsalis brought his Jazz at Lincoln Center big band to the Granada, to the grand tune of a sparkling and fun-lovingly animalistic new music-dance piece, “Spaces.”
On April 5, the “Jazz at the Lobero” series brings to town Wynton’s wily and still New Orleans-based brother Delfeayo, and his Uptown Jazz Orchestra.
And tonight, from an outer ring of the influential Marsalis circle, the Lobero once again plays host to a returning favorite, Crescent City saxophonist Derek Douget, whose resume includes membership in the patriarch’s Ellis Marsalis Quartet and work with Jason Marsalis. Beyond that dynastic clan, the veteran saxist has been a go-to sideman and collaborator with some of the prominent jazz figures to come out of New Orleans, including Terrence Blanchard, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and sometimes Crescent City habitue Dee Dee Bridgewater.
In the wake of the recent Mardi Gras moment in New Orleans, Mr. Douget brings his New Orleans-ian musical graces and intelligent swing and gumbo back to town. But tonight’s concert at the Lobero is just the crowning touch of a week-long residency for the saxist, who has been teaching jazz clinics around Santa Barbara County in the past week.
Education has been an important facet of musical life for Mr. Douget — as it has for the Marsalis family.
In New Orleans, the saxist has been the director of the Heritage School of Music since 2010. Founded in 1990 as an after-school program by veteran jazz musician Edward “Kidd” Jordan, the idealistic jazz school is supported by the city’s Jazz & Heritage Foundation — the heart of the famed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
In 2014, the school moved from the Southern University of New Orleans campus to a permanent home in the Tremé neighborhood, at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center — named after the legendary jazz promoter and jazz festival pioneer George Wein.
Tonight, though, any inherent educational aspects of a good jazz show yields to the sheerer pleasure of performance, as Mr. Douget’s band again takes the Lobero stage. Expect standards, New Orleans fare and also original tunes on the set list.
Originals mostly make up Mr. Douget’s fine 2002 album “Perpetual Motion,” on which the guest list includes Marsalis action — Ellis and Jason — as well as the masterful, and then just-fledgling, New Orleans-ian trumpeter Nicholas Payton.
The album covers a range of grooves and musical heat levels, from post-hard bop to Thelonious Monk-ish quirks, flavors of the Afro-Caribbean influence indigenous to the birthplace of jazz, and the glowing balladry of “Finally,” with the leader on soprano rather than his customary alto, in accord with Mr. Payton’s trumpet.
It ends with the lazy loose blues workout of “Session Blues” and the finale, “CODA,” a breathless 41-second tête-à-tête with drummer Jason Marsalis.
That teaser of an album-closer hints at the idea of having slipped sideways into a powerful, unstoppable energy flow, without beginning or end. Such is the essence and life force of jazz.