Once a month, just as 1st Thursday is winding down, a jazz combo sets up in the Marquee, and the dark and swanky nightspot nestled under the big south wall of the Granada Theatre comes alive. Happy people sip cocktails and chat about the art they’ve seen while a quartet of sophisticated musicians runs the changes on everything and anything in the fake book. Two of them are well-known figures from the Santa Barbara music community — Hank Allen on bass and John Adair on the guitar. The other guys look familiar, too, but not in quite the same way.
And then it clicks — the drummer is David Grossman, the executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, and the sax player is Craig Springer, the Chrisman executive director of the Granada. So, if during the day you run the Granada, or direct the Santa Barbara Symphony, what do you do on your night off? For these two gentlemen, it turns out the answer is the same — grab your instrument and head to the club next door to play some jazz.
From any number of perspectives, this little bit of moonlighting makes a lot of sense. Grossman, who successfully negotiated a new contract with the musicians’ union on behalf of the Symphony this fall, clearly knows a thing or two about holding a group together and providing a steady pulse. For Springer, the man responsible for polishing the Granada’s gleaming reputation, listening, improvising, and leading are just as clearly key skills in the boardroom as they are in the jam session. If you’re downtown tonight for 1st Thursday, check out what these four fine musicians are calling The Jazz Experiment.
The band performs at the Marquee (1212 State St.) every 1st Thursday at 8 p.m. For info, call (805) 560-0100.