Marshall Hawkins, performing in Idyllwild. Photo by Cid Castillo

This weekend, Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28, is the first ever Town Jazz concert, as well as the 18th Annual Jazz in the Pines. This year, the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce and the Idyllwild Business Roundtable (IBRT) decided to reach out and invite the visitors to Idyllwild to continue their jazz enjoyment in the center of town.

“Our objectives are to bring Jazz in the Pines attendees in to town, to appeal to visitors not attending Jazz in the Pines, and mostly to give the locals a fun, jazz-related event in town during the festival weekend,” said Doug Yagaloff of the IBRT.

After deciding to find a way to attract visitors to town, the group sought the best musical direction they could find — Marshall Hawkins, bassist and one of the Jazz in the Pines founders.

Hawkins help with the concert also helped his Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra (MoJO). Hawkins’ plan is to take the MoJO and some of its members to various local elementary schools and introduce the students to music — jazz and classical — primarily jazz, which is America’s unique contribution to the world of music.

Hawkins has arranged for a lineup that matches some of the finest jazz concerts in Southern California. Most of the performers are already familiar to local jazz fans: Daniel Jackson, saxophonist from San Diego; Gilbert Castellanos, on trumpet; Bob Boss, guitar, a frequent collaborator with Hawkins here and off the Hill; Brett Sanders, drums; Mikan Zlatkovich, piano; and the exquisite voice and personality of Yve Evans. All of this talent will be hosted by Roland Esquire Holmes.

Hawkins is honoring his former student, guitarist Graham Dechter, Saturday night and Jackson is Sunday’s honoree.

Dechter will be unavailable because of a prior commitment, but Hawkins has great love for this young and rising jazz musician. “Graham is so unique,” Hawkins said admiringly. “He went from a violinist and composer and member of the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra to jazz. He is both — jazz and classical — and he’s a standout who is now playing with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra [CHJO].” Dechter was 19 [years old] when he accepted the guitar chair in CHJO.

Hawkins was equally effusive about his friend Jackson. A La Jolla native, the city of San Diego designated a week last January to honor this talented musician.

Besides honoring his friends — young and old — a portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales, $10 each, will go toward the Seahawk MoJO school performances this year.