Steve Lockwood And Friends Jam At EDYE Stage

With the fluorescent lights dimmed, purple and blue stage lights illuminated the scene as Steve Lockwood’s band entered the room. High keys hit the piano, a wind chime in the background. The score sounded like a 1950s police drama, very sudden and nerve wracking. Then, without warning, the drums kicked in rigorously. Steve Lockwood dazzled listeners, played the Baldwin piano with his eyes closed, his hands knowing exactly where to go. The Friday Night Jazz Series at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center is a musical ritual. Students come to listen, bands come to play. “I come to these jazz shows for class purposes,” said audience member Amanda Hughes. She said she loved every song, particularly all the different melodies, tunes and volumes.

Saxophonist Kim Richmond played smoothly, articulating all the right notes. Doubling on the sax and the clarinet is no easy feat, but Richmond achieved this with competence, displaying a great level of technical skill in the jazz idiom.

On the double-bass was cool guy Mike Merritt, in his quirky pattern shirt, playing the cello oh-so-smoothly. The strings on the cello made the room reverberate with such intensity that the audience felt every note he hit.

According to drummer Dan Schnelle, jazz is very expressive. “It’s a genre of improvisation, one can really be oneself.” Indeed, the experience of listening to a great jazz combo only confirms the freedom of jazz improvisation.

Overall the night was positive and entertaining; the music was easygoing and engaging. Lockwood’s eclectic style of jazz blends old school sounds with a modern style.

The next installment of the Friday Night Jazz Series is October 12, with two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. The featured artist is Adam Schroeder. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the SMC Theater Arts Box Office.