Crusty on the outside, tender on the inside


Crustacea Jazz Band performing at the Farmers Market.

Referring to themselves as “crusty outside and tender inside”, the Crustacea Jazz Band consists of seven lively musicians who perform their New Orleans style jazz at a variety of locations, including the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market.

While watching the band perform at a Farmer’s Market, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and love for the world and the people around me. Their music has an unique and upbeat sound that could instantly turn any frown upside down. The members of the band make the experience even more enjoyable with their enthusiasm and passion for what they do. Anne Abler and Kris Baird, two of the washboard players, interact with the crowd and encourage people to dance with them, handing out festive umbrellas to whoever is willing to let loose and dance.

Crustacea Jazz Band was originally formed in 2009 by Richard Woodworth, Del Gomes, Bryan Pearson, and Anne Abler who met one another during a jazz class at Cuesta College. All members of the band play multiple instruments, with Woodworth playing soprano sax, clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax; Gomes playing the clarinet and soprano sax in the “front line” as well as piano as “bridge”; Pearson on guitar and banjo in the rhythm section, and Anne Abler who occasionally play violin, but focuses mostly on the washboard – giving a unique sound to their music.

Since their formation, three new members have joined and brought more talents and instruments to the band. Mack Eastham plays tuba and sousaphone and Steven Saavedra and Kris Baird both play the washboard.

A favorite song amongst the members is “Just a little while to stay here!” which they always play at least once, usually towards the end of their performance. Anne Abler says the song is “most appropriate to this band for obvious reasons”.

Watching the band perform will put a smile on your face, guaranteed. Their love for what they do as well as for each other is genuine and proves there is still good in the world. The band will be performing at the SLO Farmer’s Market on November 29th, but for additional listings, check their website: