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The O.B. Music and Arts Festival emerged from its economically influenced hiatus on September 11, more ambitious than ever with 7 venues and 27 acts.

Difficult to pick standouts, but the performance of the Geoffrey Keezer Trio at Winston's was inspired. Keezer is an internationally acclaimed pianist and his trio included the outstanding L.A. bassist Hamilton Price and local drum hero Duncan Moore. The show started when Keezer closed his eyes and began a remarkable series of hammering arpeggios in an ecstatic introduction to "My Favorite Things." Next up was a medley of Coltrane tunes — "Equinox" and "Mr. P.C." — which featured Keezer reaching into his piano to mute the strings while he played lightning fast runs with his other hand, producing a koto effect.

The tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and his tight, veteran quartet nearly blew the Hodad's tent down with their volcanic set. Watts can stun you with his careening, rapid-fire strands of scalar runs, then bliss you out with his piquant caressing of just the right note. He played a wooden "cedar flute" on his original "Spirit Song" that had the entire standing-room-only crowd leaning forward to catch every note of his soaring solo.

  • Concert: Geoffrey Keezer Trio and Ernie Watts Quartet
  • Date: September 11
  • Venue: Ocean Beach Music and Arts Festival
  • Seats: standing room only
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Comments

Alan Segal Sept. 15, 2010 @ 10:37 a.m.

I rode my bike there and it was a very mellow and enjoyable scene. The main stage was not only visible but clearly audible from outside the fence or near the entrance. So I sat on the sea wall with my back to the sand and sea, and listened to a fabulous set from headliner Marcia Ball for free with several others (I felt a little guilty about not paying). But hey, it was OB. Ms Ball was terrific with her Austin/New Orleans rythm and blues rocking and her Professor Longhair piano plunking. The crowd inside and outside the fence loved it. There was also a free stage on the lawn by the ocean where the crafts fair was and I saw a terrific local group there called Bedford Grove. They were a great discovery with their upbeat smooth jazz horns and keyboard and a very attractive young female vocalist. I hope the event was successful to be back next year. It did remind me of the early days of Street Scene as the promoters were hoping.

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onelovinsun Sept. 16, 2010 @ 11:58 a.m.

First, as a paying customer ($60/2ppl), I felt it was poor planning to have Gallagher's as one of the venues. We showed up to see Bonerama before they started and there was a line around the corner - it was at capacity. (and was all day) Thank goodness Bonerama got added to the 'Community' stage. BUT - that stage was FREE! We walked straight to the Harp which, to our disappointment, was also at capacity but had a shorter line.

Also, I'm surprised to not hear mention of Maceo Parker in this article. He is a jedi master and got the dancing crowd on their feet & heading to the front of the stage! The party officially started. In turn, however, the folks sitting complained and security caused a very large distraction because 'views were obstructed by dancers'. Maceo even said on stage, "i like them dancing up here!"

Other honorable mention: Charlie Hunter- He was rockin!

Great festie overall, but there were logistical issues. 1 - plan crowd draw & venue capacity accordingly and 2 - create a VIP section for non-dancers so it does not ruin the experience for every other paying customer just trying to have fun.

Thanks for putting it all together- it was a great time!

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Robert Bush Sept. 19, 2010 @ 7:14 a.m.

You're absolutely right about planning and capacity crowds. Every concert I attended was shoulder to shoulder, standing room only! I had initially planned on catching Charlie Hunter, but the line out of Winstons went around the block! As always with multi-artist festivals, decisions on who to see are the hard part.As far as who didn't get included in the review (Maceo Parker), there is a 200 word limit. I barely had the space to mention Keezer and Watts (wonderful, amazing concerts). I also attended ESP and Cannonball Coltrane Project at the Harp. Glad you still had a good time though, Peace! Robert Bush

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