to present concerts showcasing the rich and varied artistry of jazz."
"Stellar jazz in La Jolla"
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.”
March 16, April 1, and May 6, 2014
The Athenaeum’s jazz program returns to The Auditorium at TSRI (formerly known as The Neurosciences Institute) for our annual spring series, featuring an Athenaeum debut by legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker, a return visit by the history-making Brad Mehldau Trio, and a CD release concert by Holly Hofmann with special guests Anthony Wilson, John Clayton, and Jeff Hamilton.Please note that the start time for all three concerts has changed to 7:30p.m. Seating is limited and early reservations are advised!
The spring series begins on Sunday, March 16, with the Athenaeum debut of trumpeter Randy Brecker, joined by the ineffable team of drummer Peter Erskine, pianist Alan Pasqua, and bassist Darek Oles. Multi–Grammy winner Brecker has shaped the sound of jazz, R&B, and rock for more than four decades, from his early work with Blood, Sweat & Tears and the bands of Horace Silver and Art Blakey, to his co-leadership of the celebrated Brecker Brothers Band with his brother Michael. DownBeat wrote, “Brecker has the chops to play it cool or hot, laid-back or virtuosic.” JazzTimes commented, “Brecker's sonic swirls sparkle with savvy sophistication and ebullient joie de vivre.” The trio of Erskine, Pasqua, and Oles returns to TSRI for the first time since their fall 2009 CD release performance for Standards II. One of the leading drummers in jazz, Peter Erskine’s career has ranged from big bands to the groundbreaking group Weather Report to recordings and tours with Joni Mitchell, Diana Krall, Michael Brecker, and many others. Pianist Alan Pasqua’s extensive jazz credits range from Tony Williams to Joe Williams, alongside a career as keyboardist for film sessions, plus rock artists Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana. Bassist Darek Oles is familiar to Athenaeum audiences from past appearances with Charles Lloyd, Billy Childs, Bennie Maupin, and the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet.
The series continues on Tuesday, April 1, with a return visit by the extraordinary Brad Mehldau Trio, featuring Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass, and Jeff Ballard on drums. Please note that this concert will be presented in one set with no intermission. Mehldau’s most recent local appearances have been with his trio in 2011 and in two unforgettable solo piano concerts in 2008 and 2010. The Boston Globe called his trio simply “one of the finest piano trios in the history of jazz.” Comparisons abound linking Mehldau’s music to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, citing classical influences such as Chopin and Brahms, and celebrating his pioneering jazz treatments of contemporary songs by Radiohead, Nirvana, and Nick Drake. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years…Mehldau [can be] simultaneously lyrical and swinging, harmonically rhapsodic and melodically spare.” The Economist praised Mehldau’s “glittering technique and probing intellect,” stating that “he has been hailed as perhaps the finest pianist of his generation, a claim substantiated by his remarkable series of recordings. In turn meditative and incisive, his solos spin out engrossing, abstract lines, while his bassist and drummer provide subtle rhythmic and harmonic counterpoint.”
The series concludes on Tuesday, May 6, with a CD release concert by the Holly Hofmann Quintet. One of the Athenaeum’s favorite performers, Hofmann returns at the head of an all-star ensemble to celebrate the release of her latest CD, Low Life: The Alto Flute Project, an all-alto flute recording of lush ballads, bossa nova, a few standards, and swinging originals from the pens of Anthony Wilson and John Clayton…as well as a brand new piece of Holly’s own. JazzTimes commented, “Hofmann possesses one of the most exquisite flute tones in jazz.” Accent wrote, “Hofmann’s bluesy and hard-driving flute has set a new standard for the instrument in the jazz world.” She is joined in this project by her husband, legendary pianist Mike Wofford; by guitarist Anthony Wilson, of whom DownBeat wrote, “His harmonic sophistication, technical control, and sheer suave elegance place him in the major ranks of jazz guitarists”; by bassist John Clayton, known for his co-leadership of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, called by DownBeat, “one of the most accomplished bassists in mainstream jazz”; and by drummer Jeff Hamilton, co-leader of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and leader of the Jeff Hamilton Trio, called by JazzTimes, “a superb drummer known for his impeccable brush technique and respected for his tasty, melodic approach to the kit.”
the Athenaeum’s jazz programs.
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