“A devotion to showcasing top-quality artists has been a constant at the Athenaeum…
“Libraries are supposed to be places where silence prevails, but the quiet of the Athenaeum feels expectant,
“one of the west coast’s more discerning jazz concert series…”
“This thoughtful series presents jazz with the seriousness and dignity becoming the art form.”
Jaime Valle Latin Jazz Ensemble, featuring Alex Acuña
Come celebrate 14 years of Jazz at the Studio! The Athenaeum’s jazz program returns to the University Heights Studio of the Athenaeum School of the Arts (at 4441 Park Blvd.) for a final concert before the Art School moves to its new location. Join us for a special evening of Latin and mainstream jazz led by one of San Diego’s leading jazz guitarists, Jaime Valle. Voted many times over as San Diego’s top jazz artist by the San Diego Music Awards, Valle is known for his mastery of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles and for his skills as a leader of some of the area’s best Latin jazz ensembles.
The San Diego Union–Tribune wrote, “Valle has been on a path of musical excellence for the past 25 years.” JazzTimes commented, "...Valle's live performances are works of art—beautifully paced, well crafted, and surging with intelligent musical energy."
For this concert, Valle has enlisted Venezuelan-born musicians Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards and Allan Phillips on percussion, Rene Camacho on bass, and special guest Peruvian–born Alex Acuña on drums. A major force in jazz since the 1970s, Acuña began his career as part of the Perez Prado big band and played a pivotal role in the celebrated jazz–fusion band Weather Report. In addition to leading his own bands, he has been a top-level session musician, performing with artists ranging from Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Corea to U2 and Carlos Santana.
Monday, March 23, 2015: Anat Cohen Quartet
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 the acclaimed octet the SFJAZZ Collective, as well as return visits by clarinet/sax master Anat Cohen and leading jazz drummer Willie Jones III.Please note that the start time for all three concerts is 7:30 PM. Seating is limited and early reservations are advised! For tickets and information, visit our website or call (858) 454-5872.
Monday, March 23: Anat Cohen Quartet, 7:30 PM
Individual: $30 members, $35 nonmembers
The spring series begins on Monday, March 23, with the return of an Athenaeum favorite performer, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, joined by Aaron Goldberg on piano, Vicente Archer on drums, and Daniel Freedman bass. Cohen has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. Reviewing Anat’s headlining set with her quartet at the North Sea Jazz Festival, DownBeat said: “Cohen not only proved to be a woodwind revelation of dark tones and delicious lyricism, but also a dynamic bandleader who danced and shouted out encouragement to her group—whooping it up when pianist Jason Lindner followed her clarinet trills on a Latin-flavored number. ” JazzTimes commented: “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing—musically—with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that new feeling, with each chorus.” Her appearance here celebrates the release of her seventh album as a leader, Luminosa, a collection of Brazilian pieces—two choros and a trio of Nascimento songs—plus multiple originals, including compositional tributes to Brazilian guitar great Baden Powell and the inspirational founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, George Wein. “The sound of Luminosa reflects my musical life in New York City,” she explains. “I flow between modern and traditional jazz, between samba and choro—all maybe in a week’s time.”
The series continues on Saturday, April 11, with the Willie Jones III Quintet, an all-star ensemble featuring Jones on drums, past Tonight Show band member Ralph Moore on sax, Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, former Wynton Marsalis band member Eric Reed on piano, and acclaimed veteran jazz artist Buster Williams on bass. Jones’ association with the Athenaeum jazz series goes back to 1995, when he first appeared at the library in the stellar collective group Black/Note alongside longtime friend and musical collaborator Gilbert Castellanos. An L.A. native who studied with West Coast masters Billy Higgins and Tootie Heath, Jones moved to New York City in 1997. His career credits are the definition of an “in-demand” musician, having been chosen by Hank Jones, Milt Jackson, Cedar Walton, Arturo Sandoval, and Roy Hargrove to be a core member of their ensembles, plus stints with Joe Lovano, Horace Silver, Wynton Marsalis, and Sonny Rollins, to name only a few. In addition to his sideman gigs, Jones has recorded five albums as a leader, including his latest, Plays the Max Roach Songbook. JazzTimes wrote: “Jones is one of the most animated drummers on the New York scene . . . this band’s essence: they pounce on every idea that the music presents and bring these vibrant pieces to life.”
The series concludes on Monday, April 20, with an Athenaeum debut by the SFJAZZ Collective, an eight-piece group featuring many of today’s top jazz artists: alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Obed Calvaire. Launched in 2004 by SFJAZZ, during the past decade the Collective has become one of the most exciting and acclaimed groups on the jazz scene. DownBeat commented: “The octet boasts as much or more collective talent, firepower and critical acclaim than any other jazz ensemble going.” This edition of the Collective also represents the increasingly international nature of jazz, including artists who hail from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Israel, and New Zealand in addition to the United States. The band includes multiple Grammy nominees and winners, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellows, and winners of the DownBeat critics polls. The New York Times wrote: “This band is a superbrain for what serious jazz sounds like now.” Each year, the ensemble performs a new list of compositions by a modern jazz master and new pieces by the Collective members, simultaneously honoring jazz’s recent history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions. This year’s focus is on the original music of Joe Henderson, the late tenor saxophone giant and composer who lived in San Francisco and was long associated with SFJAZZ.
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