Athenaeum jazzes


A series of fun and jazz will merge the analytical left brain with the imaginative right brain at the La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s “Jazz at the Neurosciences Institute.”

Three concerts, performed in the Institute’s auditorium, begin Sept. 18 with husband and wife pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes. Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez and his all-star quartet follow on Oct. 1. The Ravi Coltrane Quartet concludes the jazz series on Oct. 28.

The fall series of “Jazz at the Neurosciences Institute” marks the 20th year the Athenaeum has held the community event. Proceeds from the event fund programs at the Neurosciences Institute, an independent scientific research organization focused on brain studies.

“The artists appearing are top musicians of their generation,” said Daniel Atkinson, the Athenaeum’s jazz program coordinator.

Charlap, a pianist, composer and Grammy nominee, is part of a trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington.

“This is a beautiful venue with a great acoustical sound,” Charlap said. “I’m pleased to bring something new with a two-piano concert with my wife. We are first and foremost jazz musicians, but sometimes we like to be extemporaneous.”

Rosnes, a member in quartets of Joe Henderson, James Moody, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and San Francisco Jazz Collective, has released nine CDs. Collaboration on the selections she and Charlap choose to play is one of couple’s strengths.

“We have a large repertoire at our hands because of our combined mutual knowledge of the American pop song book, standards and classics.” Rosnes said.

Rosnes finds performing with her husband enjoyable and natural.

“We have a lot of fun, and we also understand each other’s passion for this work,” Rosnes said.

Atkinson is excited about the piano duo.

“Bill is a superb player who has been here before,” he said. “To also have Renee, another accomplished musician, is very compelling.”

Antonio Sanchez’s all-star quartet entertains at the series on Oct. 1 and includes Scott Colley (bass), David Sanchez (sax) and Miguel Zenon (sax). Sanchez just released his first solo album, “Migration.” The band will perform some selections from the album.

“We had Antonio here in 1998 with the Danilo Perez Trio,” Atkinson said. “Now he’s one of the most prominent jazz musicians in the business.”

Sanchez started playing drums at age 5.

“I originally tried rock groups, but then went on my own,” Sanchez said. “This journey has been nothing but amazing from day one.”

He has performed with notable musicians Pat Metheny and Billy Childs among others, and his quartet members have equally impressive resumes. Sanchez understands the role a drummer fills when working with other musicians.

“Jazz can be very egotistical because players can really explore their own abilities when they solo,” he said. “I try to blend in until it’s time for me to stand out with a solo, then I really swing into gear.”

Concluding the fall series on Oct. 28 is the Ravi Coltrane Quartet featuring Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophones), Luis Perdomo (piano), Drew Gress (bass) and E.J. Strickland (drums). Coltrane, son of the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane and jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, has played with Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana among others. He continues to tour and perform with various groups.

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