Local jazz icon Marshall Hawkins brought in a band of brothers, and a sister or two, to the first ever, post Jazz in the Pines, evening Town Jazz concerts on Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28. The event, a co-production of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce and the Idyllwild Business Roundtable and hosted at Jo’An’s Restaurant’s garden setting, was by all measures a great success.
The Saturday event drew about 250 patrons and Sunday’s about 150. Adjacent core merchants stayed open and offered discounts to any showing their Hawkins wristband. Those sitting in the garden, drinking and eating and listening to some stellar jazz, remarked how beautiful the town looked all lit up for the occasion.
Saturday night honored up-and-coming jazz guitarist Graham Dechter, Idyllwild Arts graduate and guitar chair, from the age of 19, with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Dechter’s first CD, the 2009 release “Right on Time,” hit number 11 on the jazz charts. His second CD is about to be released. Dechter surprised and honored his friend, teacher and mentor, Hawkins, by canceling a gig to be there.
Dechter sat in with the brilliant musicians Hawkins assembled — Hawkins on bass, icon and Sunday honoree Daniel Jackson on sax, Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, Bob Boss on guitar, Mikan Zlatkovich on piano, Roy Gonzales on Latin percussion on Saturday and Najite on African percussion on Sunday, Yve Evans on vocals and surprise guest, sax man Charles Owens, another jazz lion. Tap dancing percussionist Claudia Gomez Vorce traded eights with the drummer to the delight of the audience.