Friday, June 22 , 2018, 10:59 am | Fog/Mist 61º


Karl Denson and His Tiny Universe, Zach Deputy Perform a Ray Charles Dance Party Marathon at SOhO

Karl Denson and Tiny Universe jam at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)
Karl Denson and Tiny Universe jam at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

On a sleepy fall night, saxophonist extraordinare Karl Denson brought his consummate jam band, Tiny Universe, to SOhO Restaurant & Music Club in Santa Barbara to play a very special jam session.

For anyone who considers themselves an aficionado of jam band music, Denson's name is synonymous with the genre. His legendary jams, some lasting all night, have seen him collaborate both improvisationally and traditionally, with most every major player in the jam band world.

For this very special month-long mini-tour, Denson and his phenomenal band of musicians have teamed up with another unique jam aficionado, Zach Deputy, to perform a reworked jam version of Ray Charles classics.

Deputy opened Wednesday night's show with a short solo set filled with looping sounds of the multiple instruments he plays. He describes his infectious rhythms as “island-infused drum n' bass gospel ninja soul.” The talented multiethnic musician credits his mix of Puerto Rican, Irish, African, British, French and Cherokee heritage for the inspiration of his unique mix of world music sounds.

Denson and Tiny Universe took the stage shortly after 10:30 p.m. The seven-member jam band army immediately launched into dance-inspiring music and the crowd quickly began to pack together in front of the stage, with many dancing in a euphoric state. The band proceeded to play a powerhouse two-hour set, consisting of 20 jam-laden songs, many from the Ray Charles catalog of hits.

Halfway through the show, the band was joined by Deputy, who took over the lead vocal duties in an almost Dr. John n-like persona. During the band's encore, Deputy, took up a Bo Diddley-type box electric guitar and, along with the rest of the band, proceeded to blow the roof off of SOhO in the most intense and extraordinary jam of the night.

After the show, a polite and demure Denson came out to sign autographs and pose for pictures until the club's closing at 1:30 a.m. One of the most talented musicians in the world just happens to be one of the most humble and gracious human beings, as well.

Jam on, Karl.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >