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Sax player likes getting in a jam

Jazz saxophonist Doug Webb doesn't play in Orange County often, but when he does, it's at a jam session in Newport Beach.

He will be playing at the Bayside Restaurant's weekly After Hours Friday Jazz Jam with friend and pianist Ron Kobayashi and several others. The gig starts at 10:30 p.m. Friday and is free to attend.

"We've had dozens, possibly hundreds of musicians from all over the Southland come by and sit in and perform," Kobayashi said. "What's really nice is that it's a jam session, so everybody plays with whoever happens to show up that night. We never know what tunes we're going to do because it's all unrehearsed."

Webb, 54, grew up in Huntington Beach and started playing the sax when he was a sophomore at Edison High School.

He has gone on to record with many notable artists, including Rod Stewart, Bobby Caldwell and Engelbert Humperdinck. He has also played on the soundtracks to the movies "Gran Torino," "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby."

Webb now lives in Laurel Canyon and plays at venues around Los Angeles County, including The Baked Potato in Studio City. There he plays with Tool drummer Danny Carey and his progressive rock side band, Volto!

"It's like a really intense fusion jazz," Webb said. "It's like hard-edge fusion, and it's really burning and really intense. People seem to like it."

While he plays plenty of gigs around the Los Angeles area, he's been hesitant to play in Orange County.

There really aren't many jazz-centric venues in the area and the establishments he used to play at, the Studio Café and Café Lido, have closed, Webb said.

"There really hasn't been a jazz club that I know of since," he said.

Kobayashi felt the same way about the jazz scene and took it upon himself to start After Hours Friday Jazz Jam to give musicians a friendly venue.

"It's a good chance for not only the working musicians in the area, but even students to come out and have a place to play with big professionals," he said.

Bayside Restaurant is at 900 Bayside Drive in Newport Beach.

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