Sometimes great combinations happen by accident. Like when pieces of hard chocolate were added to a cookie mix to make chocolate-flavored cookies, but didn’t melt — and chocolate chip cookies were invented. That’s a bit like what happened when Martin Kent & Friends was formed.
Singer-guitarist Martin, who wrote, recorded and produced the theme song to the blockbuster horror franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street, had enjoyed success with the popular blues combo Blues Skies Band in 2016, entertaining crowds from Del Mar to Carlsbad. When the five-man group disbanded, Kent went solo. But he quickly determined he needed more ingredients. By accident he crossed paths with upright bass player Rocky Smolin, who’d been on the San Diego music scene for 20 years. Smolin was currently playing in three bands, covering jazz, Afro-Cuban and bluegrass.
After a few jam sessions with Smolin, Kent felt he’d found his chocolate chip, so to speak. Instead of focusing on blues, the repertoire was expanded to jazz, r&b and classic rock. To round out the cookie, Kent asked his former Blues Skies bandmate Dan Picker to once again lay down drumbeats for the new band. When the group debuted at Encinitas’ 1920s speakeasy-themed Roxy on Nov. 10 they were an instant hit. The Blues Skies fanbase turned out, Smolin’s following did likewise, and it was standing room only. Rita Dilello, a patron at the Roxy that night, was wowed, along with everyone else, and told owner-manager Paula Vrakas she wanted to invite her friends to help her celebrate her 50th birthday at the Roxy on Jan. 20 — but only if Martin Kent & Friends were booked to perform.
So that’s what happened, and they’ll be back, playing from 8:30-11:30 p.m. The show is open to all, and there is no cover charge. Kent promises it will be a tasty night.The Roxy is located at 517 S. Coast Hwy 10, Encinitas, CA, 92024; 760-230-2899.