"For 20 years, San Diego jazz fans have counted on La Jolla's Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
to present concerts showcasing the rich and varied artistry of jazz."
-Beth Wood, La Jolla Village News, September 11, 2008
"Stellar jazz in La Jolla"
- George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 2010
"The intimate and acoustically pristine Athenaeum Library, was packed
with fans primed for the event."
- Robert Bush, San Diego Reader, February 2012
The Auditorium at The Scripps Research Institute, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego, CA 92121
Call to reserve (858) 454-5872
The Athenaeum's jazz program returns to The Auditorium at TSRI (formerly known as The Neurosciences Institute) for our annual spring series, featuring a special joint appearance by brilliant rising-star pianist Gerald Clayton and celebrated saxophonist Mark Turner, a local debut by MacArthur-winning pianist Jason Moran's trio, and the return of guitarist/arranger/composer extraordinaire Anthony Wilson at the lead of his latest ensemble. Seating is limited and early reservations are advised! For tickets and information, visit our website or call 858-454-5872 (please note that ticket prices have been adjusted to offset new expenses associated with the change in management of the hall).
The spring series begins on Wednesday, April 3
, with the Gerald Clayton Trio
, featuring pianist Clayton with Joe Sanders on bass and Justin Brown on drums, in a special appearance with Mark Turner
on tenor and soprano saxophones. Clayton’s stellar trio made memorable a local debut at the Athenaeum in July 2010. At age 28, he has already been recognized with two Grammy nominations. In addition to his work as leader, Gerald’s sideman credits include membership in the Clayton Brothers band alongside his father, bass-legend John Clayton, as well as work with such artists as Roy Hargrove, Ambrose Akinmusire, Lewis Nash, Al Foster, Terrell Stafford and Clark Terry. DownBeat
commented, "In a generation of technical, and resourceful, wunderkinds, Clayton stands out for his nuanced touch, precise articulation and the way he constructs a narrative for his solos." Of a recent performance, the New York Times
wrote, “Gerald Clayton came to destroy: his playing had huge, authoritative presence, an Oscar Peterson–like style, highly controlled touch and dynamics and rhapsodic, episodic soloing.”The trio is joined for this performance by leading saxophonist Mark Turner, whose last local performance was on the Athenaeum series in spring 2009 in the collaborative trio, Fly. During the past decade or more, Mark Turner has developed into one of the most highly regarded tenor saxophonists in jazz. The New York Times
praised him simply as “Possibly jazz’s premier player...his stature in the jazz world keeps growing...a great jazz musician.”
The series continues on Wednesday, May 8
, with a San Diego debut performance by Jason Moran and The Bandwagon
, featuring pianist Moran with longtime band members Tarus Mateen on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Moran’s previous appearances on the Athenaeum series have been in the Charles Lloyd New Quartet and with multi-reedist Don Byron’s Ivey-Divey Trio. He returns to TSRI at the lead of his core ensemble with Mateen and Waits, who share a remarkable ten-year history of acclaimed CD releases on the Blue Note label. Widely considered one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation, Moran is often cited as an artist who represents the future of jazz. His innovative artistic projects have taken inspiration from musical forebears such as Thelonious Monk, Sam Rivers and Fats Waller as well as figures from the world of visual art such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Egon Schiele and Robert Rauschenberg, leading to Moran’s critically acclaimed residencies at MOMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2010, Moran was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” The Los Angeles Times
called him “a startlingly gifted pianist with a relentless thirst for experimentation.” DownBeat
commented, “No finer piano trio currently stalks the earth. Historically and intellectually resourceful but also sparklingly intuitive, inventive, spontaneous...unassailably brilliant.” Partial funding of this performance is made through the Western Jazz Presenters Network and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The series concludes on Thursday, May 23
, with a debut by the Anthony Wilson Seasons Guitar Quartet
, featuring master guitarist Wilson and three fellow leading lights of the jazz guitar: Julian Lage, Chico Pinheiro and Larry Koonse. Athenaeum concertgoers have experienced Wilson’s extraordinary combination of talents as instrumentalist, composer and arranger in past performances by his organ trio (2010) and his nonet (2005). DownBeat
wrote, “His harmonic sophistication, technical control, and sheer suave elegance place him in the major ranks of jazz guitarists...Wilson reminds you of Jim Hall in his harmonic sense and his relaxed, softly sparkling romanticism.” Wilson’s latest project has its origin in a commission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he premiered his “Seasons” suite for four guitars in 2011. This Athenaeum performance will feature the suite plus originals by each player, as well as innovative arrangements of standards by Thelonious Monk. Joining him will be Julian Lage, who wowed the Athenaeum audience in his October 2011 performance with vibraphone giant Gary Burton. Chico Pinheiro returns, having led a stellar Athenaeum date with his own Brazilian ensemble plus special guest Bob Mintzer in spring 2011. And the masterful Larry Koonse’s latest appearance on the series was last fall with Grammy-nominated Luciana Souza. DownBeat
called Wilson’s “Seasons” project, “Nothing short of gorgeous... as close to understanding the marriage of artist and instrument as we’ll get in this lifetime.”
The Athenaeum’s jazz program returns in 2013 to the San Diego studio of the Athenaeum’s School of the Arts (4441 Park Boulevard) for a San Diego debut by jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, bassist Santi Debriano, and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca.
Jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has earned a sterling reputation as a musician and educator, renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, compositional lyricism, and ability to charm peers, students, and listeners alike. Eminent jazz critic Gary Giddins wrote in the Village Voice: “A limber and inventive guitarist, Ben-Hur keeps the modernist flame alive and pure, with a low flame burning in every note.” Ben-Hur—born in Israel in 1962 but a longtime American citizen, now based in New Jersey—has released nine albums as leader or co-leader, with Time Out New York calling him “a formidable and consummately lyrical guitarist.” The Star-Ledger of New Jersey summed him up this way: “A deep musician, a storyteller, Ben-Hur works with a warm, glowing sound and has an alluring way of combining engaging notes with supple rhythm.” Jazz guitar star Russell Malone got it right when he said: “Everything Roni does is beautiful. He has the magic touch.”
Ben-Hur’s latest album Our Thing, is a co-led trio project with Panamanian-born bassist Santi Debriano that also features Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. Marked by soulful grooves, telepathic interplay, and a rich, organic ensemble sound, Our Thing ranges from deeply swinging interpretations of Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys” and Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” to a pair of poetic tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim and several beautiful originals that channel the players’ Middle Eastern, Latin, and Brazilian heritages through a post-bop prism. One of Ben-Hur’s compositions is a fresh rendition of a longtime favorite in his songbook: “Anna’s Dance,” written for one of his two daughters. DownBeat called Our Thing “mesmerizing,” while New York City Jazz Record captured it colorfully: “Ben-Hur, Debriano, and Da Fonseca sway with the grace of palm trees, exuding a laidback introspection.” The Buffalo News encapsulated the album by describing it as “delectable jazz internationalism of near-Olympic variety. BenHur and Debriano are players of first-rate fluency and taste.”
Jazz returns to the Music Room of the Athenaeum (at 1008 Wall Street in La Jolla) for the library's annual summer jazz series. The series features rare local appearances by internationally acclaimed jazz artists, including a special CD release event by San Diego treasure Mike Wofford. Seating is limited, so early reservations are strongly suggested! For tickets and information, call 858-454-5872.
The series opens with a special West Coast debut on June 7 by leading Brazilian jazz artist André Mehmari on solo piano. Mehmari is considered one of the most talented young musicians of his native Brazil, highly regarded for his activities as pianist, composer, arranger and instrumentalist both in jazz and classical music. Mehmari’s solo performances feature his own soaringly lyrical compositions; Brazilian classics by composers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, and Pixinguinha; and treatments of American jazz standards and Beatles’ songs. Brazil’s O Estado de São Paulo wrote, “If you enjoy pianists like Jarrett or Mehldau and still don’t know André Mehmari, listen to his music. Like the two mentioned above, the young pianist combines classical music influences with an exuberant improvisation capability. As a composer, his talent is equally brilliant.” The Folha de São Paulo wrote, “Mehmari is a precocious genius, an extraordinary talent of vibrating and generous imagination.” Sound Excursions commented, ”Mehmari has the rare distinction of being one of the most consistently inventive and absorbing musicians in the forefront of Brazilian instrumental art. His formidable improvisatory imagination and uninhibited lyricism have made his presence on any recording a strong assertion of its high quality.” The concert is presented with the support of the Consulate-General of Brazil in Los Angeles.
June 16 brings an Athenaeum debut by the George Colligan Trio, featuring Colligan on piano with Hamilton Price on bass and Steve Hass on drums. Multi-talented pianist, organist, trumpeter, drummer, composer, and educator Colligan is considered among the leading jazz artists of his generation. Currently touring internationally as a member of drummer Jack DeJohnette’s New Quintet, he is highly in demand as a sideman, having worked with artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Buster Williams, Lonnie Plaxico, and Ravi Coltrane, among many others. Colligan has released 23 CDs as a leader, ranging from his 1998 debut, Stomping Ground, with drummer Billy Hart, to his recently released The Facts (2013), with Jaleel Shaw, Boris Koslov and Donald Edward. The New York Times praised Colligan for his “postbop harmonic and rhythmic savvy.” AllAboutJazz called him a “torch-carrier of the piano trio tradition” and “one of the best kept secrets in jazz.” As a jazz educator, Colligan taught in The Juilliard School’s jazz program and recently took up a professorship at Portland State University. He is the author of a series of articles on jazz piano technique for Keyboard magazine and also writes the popular jazz blog jazztruth.blogspot.com.
The series continues on June 30 with the special CD release event by jazz legend and Athenaeum favorite Mike Wofford, who will perform music from his forthcoming solo piano album, It’s Personal. Recognized by DownBeat as “one of the outstanding pianists of our time,” Mike Wofford’s musical career began in the 1960s with the legendary Lighthouse All-Stars and the bands of Shelly Manne, Teddy Edwards, Chet Baker, Bud Shank and Shorty Rogers. From the 70s to the 90s, Wofford toured with artists such as Lee Konitz, Benny Carter, and Zoot Sims, and as pianist and music director for both Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Mike has led many extraordinary concerts over the years for the Athenaeum series. Regarding his latest project, Mike writes, “For me as a pianist, playing in a great jazz band is a remarkable experience. But solo piano in performance is a uniquely personal environment. In a solo setting, the aim is one thing only: to communicate one’s own experiences and ideas solely and directly—to be oneself. The beauty is to convey one’s own individual thinking and approach as if playing in a living room for friends. The Athenaeum has been a kind of home for me for many years now, and it is a privilege to be able to play in what has indeed come to feel like my own living room. For this concert I will be playing material from the new CD, which includes original pieces of my own as well as others by composers whom I admire from the jazz and pop world.”
The series concludes on July 11
with Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom,
a quartet led by drummer Miller and featuring Ben Goldberg on clarinet, Myra Melford on piano, and Todd Sickafoose on bass. NYC-based Miller crosses many musical boundaries, bringing her individual sound to diverse types of music while preserving their stylistic authenticity. Allison goes from leading her band, Boom Tic Boom, to playing with songwriting vocalists Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Merchant, to touring with saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, legendary B3 organist Doctor Lonnie Smith, and a wide range of jazz leaders including Ben Allison, Kenny Barron, Erik Friedlander, Mark Helias, Ellery Eskelin, Ray Drummond, Peter Bernstein, Sheila Jordan, Kevin Mahogany, and Bruce Barth. She approaches each of these musical situations with her own stylistic identity. Allison was chosen as “Rising Star Drummer” in DownBeat’s
53rd and 58th Annual Critics Poll. The Los Angeles Times
named Boom Tic Boom’s debut album one of the top 10 jazz albums of 2010, writing, “Allison Miller reveals that high quality talent continues to flow into the jazz mainstream ... the perfect composite, brawny and swinging where high-voltage propulsion [is] the appropriate choice, infinitely subtle with accents and timbres where sound and texture [are] demanded."
KSDS Jazz 88.3 FM is a proud supporter of Athenaeum Jazz.
This series is supported in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego. Thanks also to the Empress Hotel of La Jolla and to the Athenaeum Friends of Jazz for their support of
the Athenaeum’s jazz programs.
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