ON the Beat | TRAP enters its 25th year at the Lobero in Santa Barbara
Rhythms with a cause
Files that are hard to believe, TRAP celebrates its 25th birthday, with a view to semi-retirement. Part of a long-standing tradition, Saturday, September 24’s All-Star Fundraiser Party at the Lobero Theater will serve as both a post-pandemic celebration and a moving swan song for one of music therapy’s most worthy of the region.
A little story is needed, of course, for those who have not followed the saga. The story begins over a quarter century ago on a beach in Carpinteria, when a body surfing accident left the session drummer Eddie Tuduri in a paralyzed state. Frustrated with his inability to live his musical life as he had for decades, and with a desire to be of service to those in need, Tuduri started TRAP (The Rhythmic Arts Project). Its central concept is to reach people with disabilities, using percussion and collective music as an expressive and therapeutic tool. Since then, TRAP has expanded to several countries.
Part of the fundraising strategy was the logical decision to engage with the community by presenting concerts, often with well-established musicians in and beyond the drumming-percussion circles in which Tuduri was rooted. Lobero shows, also including auctions and other special features, have been notable highlights in Santa Barbara’s music calendar for years, though they disappeared during the COVID era.
Tuduri, now 75, proclaimed Saturday’s event would be the last major eruption, although he noted that smaller events could be possible in the future. “I’ll always want to get together and jam with my friends,” he says.
Among the many memorable moments of the TRAP Lobero Benefit Memory Banks were appearances by Bill Champlin and Michael McDonald on the microphone/keyboards, and a contagious duo between master Brazilian percussionist Air to Moreira and the talented student TRAP Dion.
Joining founding drummer and creator of musical connections Tuduri on stage will be musicians from the malleable band known as Pocketsincluding Luis Conte, Kenny Lewis and Diane Steinberg (of the band Steve Miller), guitarist Derol Caracokeyboardist Jimmy Clairebass player Steve Nelsonsingers Leslie Lembo and Shawn Thies…and not least, star TRAP students like Dion, Karen, Zayde, Ryan and Well. Massive grooves – with a cause – are on the menu.
Blues Surf Report
On Sunday afternoon (September 25) at the Community Arts Workshop, the blues pays a serious visit to town, in terms of livewire sounds and respects to local flame keepers. This will be the first post-pandemic event organized by the intrepid and venerable Santa Barbara Blues Societycoming off mothballs after almost three years.
At the heart of the show is a memorial tribute to two important blues-related guitarists who sadly passed away this year: slide guitar master Tom Murray (of Stiff Pickle Orchestra and other entities) and R&B powerhouse Byl Carruthers (from Café R&B, with soul singer Roach co-starring) are gone, but hardly forgotten. To pay tribute to them and raise funds for their families, the Blues Society has rallied groups kings of paradise, East Valley Roadand the Rent Party Blues Band to stir up a ruckus of blues for the occasion. See SBBlues.org.
Speaking of onstage blues, one of the fiery, hot, and cool gigs in town recently took place on Louisiana Night Tab Benoit fueled his blues-rock-swampy trio at the Lobero Theatre. A slew of scorching guitar playing, more blues-rock and spectrum southern rock than deep blues, culminated in a triple-threat guitar jam at the end of the show, when Benoit brought up his friend Alastair Green — Santa Barbara’s excellent blues-rock hero who made himself known throughout the world — and concert opener JD Simo for a riff-swapping bonanza. “Just when you thought you had enough guitar in your life…” joked the charismatic Benoit, with a smirk.
Personally, my favorite of the three that night was Simo, whose slick, clever slide guitar work – falling beautifully into the thrilling post-Derek Trucks camp – dabbles in jazz and other influences, as does his fretwork. and his musical voice. There’s a restless sense of adventure to his playing, unlike the more hubris riffing of much of lead guitar culture. Simo reminds us that the blues, like all good genres, is open to new ideas and conceptual nudges.