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Jazz at the Lobero Opens 2011-12 Series with New Gary Burton Quartet — And a Party

Pre-show reception celebrates 11th season, along with its newly green designation

By Melissa Walker, Noozhawk iSociety Columnist | @NoozhawkSociety |

On a beautiful fall evening brightened by a full moon, the New Gary Burton Quartet set the tone for another great season of Jazz at the Lobero.

The landmark Lobero Theatre at 33 E. Canon Perdido provided a welcoming environment on Oct. 10 for patrons thrilled with an opportunity to visit a familiar place and historical setting.

A pre-show reception for Jazz at the Lobero’s 2011-2012 series commenced in the courtyard with appetizers and drinks provided by Blush Restaurant & Lounge. The menu included salmon tartar wonton chips, roasted red beet reduction with goat cheese salad and a selection of fine wines.

Patrons, VIPs and sponsors mingled in the outdoor setting, which hummed in the excitement of a spectacular evening of fine jazz inside the unique and intimate theater.

The Lobero Theatre Foundation carefully selects and offers almost 20 performances each season to enhance the performing arts in Santa Barbara.

As the lights flashed for a curtain call, the reception guests exited the courtyard and walked through the red lobby to assigned seats, settling in for the evening’s performance.

The stage was set with simple lighting that showcased the musicians’ craft and generated a warm rush of enthusiasm from audience members eager to be transformed by the music and performers.

And the intimacy of the hall and proximity to the artists became even more obvious as the house lights were turned lower and the stage came into focus with its beautiful mosaic ceiling above.

DownBeat Magazine’s October cover artist, The New Gary Burton Quartet, entered onstage into a venue recently named to the 2011 DownBeat Great Jazz Venue list, creating a stirring mix of venue and performer.

Gary Burton set up to the front of stage right with his vibraphone next to Julian Lage on guitar. Scott Colley on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums provided the rhythm section.

Each performer seemed to appreciate the atmosphere as much as the patrons, and the musicians were all featured throughout the songs in improvisational moments common to jazz performances.

Burton is the Grammy-winning pioneer of the four-mallet vibraphone technique, and since 1967 has been known for amazing quartets. The new and recently formed quartet (2010) is the first for Burton since the mid-1990s and includes a new studio album, Common Ground.

The Jazz at the Lobero series has presented nearly 70 jazz concerts since its launch in 2000. And, the Lobero Theatre has recently gone “green” in cooperation with the city of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Recycling and Foodscraps Recycling Programs.

Since Sept. 1, the venue has been recognized as the first theatrical or cinematic business in Santa Barbara with new composting and recycling programs in place.

The Lobero Theatre Foundation has worked diligently to maintain California’s longest continuously operating theater with a mission to preserve the historic hall as a performing arts center and cultural asset for Santa Barbara.

Touring artists who mesh with the hall’s intimacy and acoustics — including jazz, blues, bluegrass and folk, as well as high-quality productions in dance and theater — are featured in the distinctive venue.

The Lobero Theatre Foundation also administers a number of Youth & Community Outreach programs, such as the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet’s returning group of rising jazz stars who share knowledge and experiences with young jazz students.

Other upcoming shows in the Jazz at the Lobero series include Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread, Charles Lloyd and Maria Farantouri’s Amarando and the trio of Tierney Sutton, Hubert Laws and Larry Koonse.

Jazz at the Lobero thanks the gracious sponsors for support of the 2011-2012 series:

» Corporate sponsors: Noozhawk, CASA Magazine, Lobero Theatre Endowment for American Roots Music, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Santa Barbara Independent and 91.9 KCSB.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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