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A SOFT TOUCH : As Pianist and Composer, Sandy Owen Sets His Jazz Style

April 22, 1993|BILL KOHLHAASE | Bill Kohlhaase is a free-lance writer who regularly covers jazz for the The Times Orange County Edition.

Pianist, composer and now singer Sandy Owen returns to Saddleback College in Mission Viejo on Saturday night for his latest annual concert in a series that dates to 1985.

As usual, he and his backup trio--saxophonist Paul Carman, drummer Tom Ravel and electric/acoustic bassist Craig Snazelle--will focus on Owen's stylish "soft jazz," as he calls it.

However, Owen says he'll do things a little differently this year: He'll play the first half of the concert solo. And he will sing four songs, including the first vocal he recorded, "The City," a Mark-Almond Band single from the '70s. The success Owen has had with the tune has encouraged him to sing more often.

Although the program will feature "at least half new music," Owen says, the recent compositions are in his usual style.

"It's definitely not pop jazz. I call it 'soft jazz.' It's heavy on movie themelike melodies, unlike (jazz by) guys who put the emphasis on improvisation."

Owen, who has released seven albums on his own Ivory Records label, is shopping a demo tape that saxophonist Richard Elliot helped him put together. Owen continues to write music for films and television.

Proceeds from Saturday's concert will benefit the fine arts program at Saddleback.

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