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Gonzo Report: Artemis attracts all ages to the Alexandria

A happy hunt for Women in Jazz

Artemis had the audience’s full attention.
Artemis had the audience’s full attention.

The latest jazz concerts produced by the ever-resourceful local promoter and musician Daniel Atkinson took place over two days during the first week of June. The Women in Jazz Mini-Fest highlighted the historic and ongoing contribution of females to this male-dominated musical genre. On Friday evening at the Alexandria at Torrey Pines, San Diego Jazz Ventures presented the all-star sextet Artemis, named for the Greek goddess of the hunt. (“They all converge on this extremely cosmopolitan, sleek, rhythm-forward, modern sound,” according to NPR.) The set was followed on Saturday by acrobatic border-blurring vocalist Thana Alexa (who the New York Times called “a jazz singer with a global perspective”).

Place

Alexandria at Torrey Pines

10996 Torreyana Road, San Diego

When the original incarnations of these events debuted back in August of 2021, they were held outdoors, so I was pleasantly surprised to be directed inside the venue when we arrived early for a 6 pm concert. The shows were presented in the 4200-square-foot Illumina Theater, which held around 200 people and boasted the most comfortable seats I’ve ever experienced — and I’ve attended close to 1000 concerts since 1970, when I caught Led Zeppelin as an 11-year-old. The seating even included a fold-up table to support a complimentary wine selection (served in a real breakable glass) — or in my case, a notepad.

What does all this La Jolla luxury set you back? I’d say it’s a bargain: general admission seats run $50, which includes free parking and that complimentary glass of wine. (Do note that they don’t allow the red variety inside the theater, on account of potential stains from spillage, I reckon.) And at the risk of sounding vulgar, I have to report that my inevitable trip to the restroom revealed a space just slightly smaller than a city bus, and considerably larger than my own tiny apartment. I got lost trying to find the exit door.

The audience seemed much younger than the usual attendees at a jazz event in the La Jolla/Torrey Pines neck of the woods. There was still a grip of folks from the boomer demographic, but I swear I saw people were in their thirties, twenties, and — unless my aging eyes were failing me — even teenagers. Especially well-represented were local working musicians. At the Artemis concert on the first night, I ran into everyone from piano phenomenon Brenda Greggio to jazz power couple Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann. On Saturday, I got hugs from vocal powerhouse Allison Adams Tucker, headline violinist Jamie Shadowlight, and tap dancer Claudia Gomez. If a musician didn’t have a gig that weekend, they were probably at the Illumina Theater.

Aside from the occasional sonic hiccups (that were successfully resolved), I found the hall’s acoustic signature to be sublime. There were four large tower-type speakers by Nexo, monitored by Daniel Atkinson’s longtime sound guru Mitch Grant, and a sweet seven-foot Yamaha grand piano on stage both nights. As far as I could tell, at least in terms of sight lines, there didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.

Still, the audience itself was the most gratifying aspect of the experience. There’s nothing more obnoxious having your auditory experience hijacked by the loud and inane chatter of morons, and lately, that seems to happen more often than not. This night was a happy exception. The entire audience was laser-focused on the music, and as quiet as the proverbial church mouse.

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Artemis had the audience’s full attention.
Artemis had the audience’s full attention.

The latest jazz concerts produced by the ever-resourceful local promoter and musician Daniel Atkinson took place over two days during the first week of June. The Women in Jazz Mini-Fest highlighted the historic and ongoing contribution of females to this male-dominated musical genre. On Friday evening at the Alexandria at Torrey Pines, San Diego Jazz Ventures presented the all-star sextet Artemis, named for the Greek goddess of the hunt. (“They all converge on this extremely cosmopolitan, sleek, rhythm-forward, modern sound,” according to NPR.) The set was followed on Saturday by acrobatic border-blurring vocalist Thana Alexa (who the New York Times called “a jazz singer with a global perspective”).

Place

Alexandria at Torrey Pines

10996 Torreyana Road, San Diego

When the original incarnations of these events debuted back in August of 2021, they were held outdoors, so I was pleasantly surprised to be directed inside the venue when we arrived early for a 6 pm concert. The shows were presented in the 4200-square-foot Illumina Theater, which held around 200 people and boasted the most comfortable seats I’ve ever experienced — and I’ve attended close to 1000 concerts since 1970, when I caught Led Zeppelin as an 11-year-old. The seating even included a fold-up table to support a complimentary wine selection (served in a real breakable glass) — or in my case, a notepad.

What does all this La Jolla luxury set you back? I’d say it’s a bargain: general admission seats run $50, which includes free parking and that complimentary glass of wine. (Do note that they don’t allow the red variety inside the theater, on account of potential stains from spillage, I reckon.) And at the risk of sounding vulgar, I have to report that my inevitable trip to the restroom revealed a space just slightly smaller than a city bus, and considerably larger than my own tiny apartment. I got lost trying to find the exit door.

The audience seemed much younger than the usual attendees at a jazz event in the La Jolla/Torrey Pines neck of the woods. There was still a grip of folks from the boomer demographic, but I swear I saw people were in their thirties, twenties, and — unless my aging eyes were failing me — even teenagers. Especially well-represented were local working musicians. At the Artemis concert on the first night, I ran into everyone from piano phenomenon Brenda Greggio to jazz power couple Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann. On Saturday, I got hugs from vocal powerhouse Allison Adams Tucker, headline violinist Jamie Shadowlight, and tap dancer Claudia Gomez. If a musician didn’t have a gig that weekend, they were probably at the Illumina Theater.

Aside from the occasional sonic hiccups (that were successfully resolved), I found the hall’s acoustic signature to be sublime. There were four large tower-type speakers by Nexo, monitored by Daniel Atkinson’s longtime sound guru Mitch Grant, and a sweet seven-foot Yamaha grand piano on stage both nights. As far as I could tell, at least in terms of sight lines, there didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.

Still, the audience itself was the most gratifying aspect of the experience. There’s nothing more obnoxious having your auditory experience hijacked by the loud and inane chatter of morons, and lately, that seems to happen more often than not. This night was a happy exception. The entire audience was laser-focused on the music, and as quiet as the proverbial church mouse.

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Comments
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I was sad to miss this show (I had covid at the time), but this article made me feel like I was there! Thanks.

July 21, 2022

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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