to present concerts showcasing the rich and varied artistry of jazz."
"Stellar jazz in La Jolla"
Come prepared to get up and dance when the Athenaeum’s jazz program returns to the San Diego studio of the Athenaeum School of the Arts (4441 Park Boulevard) for a San Diego debut performance by leading NYC-based Afro-Cuban percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martinez, joined by his bandmates Ariacne Trujillo on keyboard and vocals, Alvaro Benavides on electric bass and vocals, and Jhair Sala on percussion and vocals. The Pedrito Martinez Group has emerged as the tightest Afro-Cuban band in New York. Their shows ignite a devoted fan base that has spread to include Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Roger Waters, and Wynton Marsalis. The ensemble has its roots planted firmly in the rumba tradition, and revels in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of Yoruban and Santeria music. Among their many fans is guitar legend John Scofield, who commented, “Pedrito and the band are virtuosi of the first order. But even more striking is how they work together as a unit. They are one of the greatest groups playing today. I’ve learned so much from hearing and from playing with them.” The New York Times wrote, “Since arriving in the United States at the end of the 1990s, the Cuban percussionist Martinez has been all over the place, putting rumba and guaguancó into the weave of all kinds of groups… when his drums, singing and writing are the focus, he’s an incomparable performer.”
Jazz at the Athenaeum
January 23, February 13, 23, and 27, 2014
The series opens with on January 23 with the Joshua White NYC Quartet, featuring award-winning pianist White with two NYC powerhouses, alto saxophonist David Binney and drummer Mark Ferber, along with top-flight LA bassist Hamilton Price. White has been capturing the attention of audiences nationwide since winning second place honors in one of the jazz world’s most prestigious events, the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition (2011). Herbie Hancock commented, “Joshua has immense talent. I was impressed by his daring and courageous approach to improvisation on the cutting edge of innovation. He is his own man.” The New York Times wrote, “He pressed hard against the rhythm section and improvised with form, accelerating and decelerating, suddenly going free. Mr. White used a lot of dissonance and clutter, but it was provocative, chord-related clutter, not the brilliant-soloist kind made mostly with the right hand. It was a sound worth returning to.” Altoist David Binney makes his Athenaeum debut in this performance. Known for his projects with colleagues such as Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, and Edward Simon, Binney has been called “one of the most original minds in contemporary music” (Stereophile). DownBeat wrote, “Like Wayne Shorter, Binney is a musical storyteller and a romantic, with a penchant for episodic compositions replete with twisting lines and yearning melodies. Binney also plays the stew out of the alto sax.”
February 13 brings a long-awaited return by the Kenny Werner Trio, featuring master pianist Werner with longtime collaborators Johannes Weidenmueller on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums. Werner’s previous Athenaeum appearances have included a duo with dynamic Brazilian vocalist Claudia Villela (2006), with harmonica-master Toots Thielemans (2005), and with his long-standing trio (2004). Jazziz called Werner “a true innovator with a delicate touch and a vivid imagination…" The New York Times commented, “Werner is a clear virtuoso, and when he solos there's wit everywhere.” DownBeat wrote, “Werner owns more chops and brains than most pianists do ... Werner hardly raises his voice to make subtle points, couching his logic in neat vamps, sinewy angular lines, dizzying rhythmic double entendres.” In over a quarter century of performing, Werner has played with a litany of jazz greats, including Archie Shepp, Mel Lewis, Ron Carter, Joe Williams, Chico Freeman, John Abercrombie, Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Joe Henderson, Tom Harrell, Gunther Schuller, Paul Motian, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden, and Joe Lovano. But what the All Music Guide singles out for particular praise is Werner’s work as “an absolutely astounding trio pianist.” The New York Times wrote," Mr. Werner and his trio took apart pieces and reconfigured them with all sorts of nearly miraculous rhythm and tempo changes ... [with] a type of rhythm section fluidity that's rarely heard.”
The series continues on February 23 (Sunday) with another much-anticipated return visit by the Tord Gustavsen Quartet from Norway, featuring Gustavsen on piano, Mats Eilertsen on bass, Jarle Vespestad on drums, and Tore Brunborg on saxophones. Gustavsen made an unforgettable Athenaeum debut with his serenely lyrical trio in 2008, and returned in 2010 for a special program of holiday music with vocalist Solveig Slettahjell. Gustavsen’s 2003 debut CD, “Changing Places” (ECM), made the critics’ year’s 10 best CD lists in major publications worldwide. BBC Jazz commented, “Gustavsen's music is fresh, intuitive and heartfelt… a truly beautiful record.” Stereophile magazine echoed, “With his very first record as a leader, Tord Gustavsen has created an instant classic.” For the past decade, Gustavsen has been touring top international jazz venues, expanding his core trio with the addition of saxophone in 2009. Of the group’s 2012 release, “The Well,” Stereophile wrote, “The qualities in Gustavsen's music of affection and respect—for each note, interval, rolling modulation, silence, and fellow playe—are perhaps as high as I have heard in improvised music. The emphasis is not on how many notes can be played, or how virtuosically, but on how much music can be made with as few notes as possible.” DownBeat wrote, “The collective aesthetic of the ensemble is quietly spellbinding. To Gustavsen, each note seems to hold sacred power.”
The series concludes on February 27 with the swinging and richly textured Amina Figarova Sextet, led by pianist/composer/arranger Figarova with Bart Platteau on flutes, Marc Mommaas on tenor saxophone, Ernie Hammes on trumpet, Jeroen Vierdag on bass, and Jason Brown on drums. Figarova began her musical career as a classical concert pianist trained at the Baku Conservatory in her native Azerbaijan. After immigrating to the Netherlands she turned to the study of jazz at the Rotterdam Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, moving her home from Rotterdam to New York City in 2011. She has been featured at leading festivals and clubs worldwide, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Yoshi's in Oakland, and the Blue Note in New York City. Her sextet made its Athenaeum debut in 2009. AllAboutJazz commented that Figarova “explores jazz's modern mainstream with a driving rhythmic groove, impeccably tight arrangements, and refreshing piano keyboard magic.” London’s Evening Standard wrote, “Figarova sets the tone with a sophisticated range of tenderness and urgency at the keyboard and each of her compositions and arrangements has an admirable sureness of touch. She's a major artist.” JazzTimes commented, “Figarova’s deep and thoughtful compositions are as rich as her playing is superb. With her great band of many years now, featuring a wonderful sax/trumpet/flute front line, the music soared and thrilled.”
the Athenaeum’s jazz programs.
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