Drummer Al Hixon, who at times sounds like he could have a second career as a semi-corny standup comedian, brought his quartet into the Venice Art Center today for a South County Jazz Club concert that drew more than 100 music fans to the venue. The band was joined by two special guests for a few songs apiece - singer Dick Smollins in the opening set and tenor saxophonist Jim Wellen in the second set.
The music was superb, with Wellen synching nicely with trumpeter Bob Switzer's often soft and always elegant soloing. They really clicked on the breezy "Summer Samba." Pianist Dick Reynolds and bassist/singer Vince Evans completed the band.
Hixon is a greater Sarasota fixture who seems to be one of the busiest musicians around.
Hixon is rarely flashy on the drums; his solid accents are often spare and always to the point. Suffice it to say that his drumming is an aural and visual treat. The band's standing ovation was richly deserved.
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