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The Jazz Age in Santa Barbara


Well, I just now came across an article on Baudelaire’ s and Claire Rabe. I believe it’s dated from 2008. There are some facts missing from this article, about the jazz that was played there in the 70s.

Baudelaire’s was on lower state and the first jazz group to play there was The New Jazz Sextet, which was led by Dwayne (“Hunky”) Larabee (tenor sax), his brother Frank on alto sax, Dick Dunlap on piano, Howard Crawford on bass, Tony Cappiello on drums, and Mike Ray on percussion. Dwayne had come back to Santa Barbara after a stay in New York City where he had been hanging out with the likes of Sam Rivers, and was into the avant garde jazz craze. Dwayne wrote out what he called cue charts, which were pretty outside.

Later, some of the other local musicians that played there were Larry Gelb, Timmy Emmons, Jerry Teetz, Charlie Orena, Bo Young, Clark Myers, Mike Palmer. One night I remember the late Albert Daily came and sat in with us. He was with Stan Getz at the time. I don’t remember who he was playing with that night in Santa Barbara.

(I left Santa Barbara in 1979 and moved to Seattle. I never saw Claire Rabe again. She by the way had a house on Olive Street a few blocks away from where I had lived on and off on Victoria Street. These had to be around 1971.The Vietnam war was still going on, a lid was $10 for home-grown. What an era that was.)

The 60s in Santa Barbara was the time for jazz. There was the Spigot on De La Vina Street, owned by George McClintock. I played there with the Herb Hicks Quintet for two years running. Great musicians played in the club. On Sundays, George would bring in the big acts. Cannonball, Dizzy, Cal Tjader, Curtis Amy, Marv Jenkins, Prince LaSha, Sonny Simmons, Helly Manne, Billy Higgins, Ron Finney, and Vince Wallace came down from San Francisco to play along with bass player Lennie Seguiera. Sal Nistico played there with Herb Hicks and was living with Herb on Gillespie Street. They painted houses to pay the rent. Shortly after, Sal went with Woody Herman. Freddy Jackson played there also. Later he went with the Ray Charles band. Donny Ontiveros, Dave Wilson, Bo Young were among the jazz musicians. Chip Crosby (Dave Crosby’s brother) played drums there for awhile with Vince. Dave Sanchez, Harry Vizzolini, Hal Sweasey were there. The Spigot: House of Jazz. A lot of jazz was played there by a lot of musicians locally and from out of town. Jazz was always played on the stereo. Back then it was the only true jazz club between Los Angeles and San Francisco. What a memorable time in Santa Barbara when jazz was being played in the city.

There were other clubs in town. Down on lower State Street there was the Boom Boom Club, and it had a Latin Jazz group with Hal Sweasey on vibes, Chip Crosby on timbales, and later, on acoustic bass, Steve Genadini on congas (Steve had toured with the Stan Kenton Orch), and Donna Sweasey on bass. The Montecito Inn had jazz. The Night Blooming Jazzmen played with Robin Montz on piano,Tom DeVaney on drums, Jim Skidmore on bass, Dave Sanchez on tenor. The Fiesta Bowling Alley had Don McCarroll on piano, Lennie Sequiera on bass, and the late Bobby Gutierrez on drums.The Falcon Lounge on The Bird Refuge had jazz on Sunday afternoons. Santa Barbara was a pretty good place for jazz.

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