For all the Jazz Lovers (and those who enjoy good music)

By Yolanda Melton
Freelance Entertainment Writer

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has a real treat going on this spring for jazz lovers. The night of Wednesday, April 3 kicked off the first of a three part series of jazz concerts hosted by La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

Wednesday’s concert brought out the Gerald Clayton Trio with special guest saxophonist Mark Turner, who played to an intimate crowd in TSRI’s auditorium. They played a medley of songs over a period of three hours, including some by Dizzy Gillespie as well as many originals. The audience was seemingly awestruck at the four men’s musicianship, as they all are quite talented.

“I enjoyed [the show] very much. It broke me out of my general reality. It made me listen and focus – it’s inspiring to see the musicians work together,” said attendee Eric Anderson.

Although three of the four men are Southern California natives, they all are now based out of New York and had barely arrived here within a day of the show – bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown having gotten to the city just hours prior to the performance. And naturally, the curiosity of how they were able to get their heads in the proper space was brought up.

“Really the preparation comes before the gig, this is what we do to learn this music and the vocabulary, and just to develop our ears so that we can enter any situation and be flexible to react to what’s going on. Today we didn’t have a lot of time to rehearse but we trust each other,” said Clayton.

The Gerald Clayton Trio consists of award-winning pianist and composer Gerald Clayton, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown. These three gentlemen have been playing together for roughly five years and have accomplished much success together as well as individually. Clayton has been honored in print by the Jazz Times and Los Angeles Times. Sanders has toured with jazz greats such as Ravi Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, while Brown has had the opportunity to play and record with the likes of Esperanza Spaulding, Bilal, and Ledisi. With this type of talent, national and international recognition, it’s no coincidence that they would invite Mark Turner to play with them here.

Mark Turner has been praised in the New York Times as “Possibly jazz’s premier player…his stature in the jazz world keeps growing…a great jazz musician.” He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1990 and since has recorded and performed with many musicians including Dave Holland, Billy Hart, and James Moody.

The show went on without a hitch, filling the auditorium with smooth, soothing sounds that allowed one’s mind to drift to various places in time. Between songs Clayton would briefly speak on the meaning behind the tunes with a touch of humorous, which brought a bit of a different dynamic to the show, and yet, everything flowed impeccably.

These four gentlemen put on a show that the attendees will be impacted by for quite some time. “I call it worship, it’s a spiritual experience for me,” said attendee and elementary schoolteacher Douglas Walker. “It has a message, it’s written in lines and spaces without words; it’s a language.”

Athenaeum Jazz will be holding two more shows this spring so don’t fret about having missed this incredible show. On May 8 at 8 P.M., Jason Moran and The Bandwagon will be performing for the first time in San Diego, and on May 23 also at 8 P.M. the Anthony Wilson Seasons Guitar Quartet will be gracing TSRI’s stage. Be sure to check out http:// for ticket information and future shows.


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  1. As you might know, I was really impressed with the article about the music venture. We all learn about people that are not familiar, and from your writing really sound enjoyable. I will have to look into the group more. Thank’

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