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Saxophonist Scott Martin and his Latin Soul Jazz Sextet stopped by the Saville Theatre on Tuesday, July 19, to record a live album and lay down some dance party grooves, with varying degrees of success.

Martin, who spent 14 years in the employ of award-winning bandleader Poncho Sanchez, has earned his Latin music credentials, and the cat can play the saxophone. Moreover, he has a very tight, crack ensemble to work with: guitarist Rick White was sparkling the entire evening with a clear, chorused aesthetic that occasionally threatened to steal the show; Mark Massey's piano was always supportive and meshed well with the guitar; Don Littleton's congas and assorted percussion fired the ensemble's heartbeat, and the rhythm section of Ernie Nunez and Warren Ontiveros on electric bass and drums, respectively, kept faultless time.

They led off with an appropriately grooving, "Voodoo Juice", which recalled Latin giant Cal Tjader's oeuvre . As long as their set list stuck with that orientation, Martin's light, airy attack and White's John Scofield meets Wes Montgomery soloing kept the engines stoked and the fires burning.

A welcome surprise was the straight-ahead (almost free-bop) groove of "Flim Flam" a swinging tune that brought out the best performance of the evening, with Martin's tightly coiled saxophone improvisations weaving through the changes like a rattlesnake trying to escape a hot-plate.

Less fulfilling were "Gregory Is Here", which bordered on "smooth-jazz", and "More Today Than Yesterday", which was marred by unclear vocals.

On the Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo standard, "Manteca" and the Willie Bobo classic, "Fried Neckbones", though, this super tight "Latin Soul" sextet lived up to their billing and rocked the enthusiastic full house to a satisfying climax.

photo by Anthony Cecena

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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