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The touch of a master: Mike Wofford live in La Jolla

Everything Wofford plays has a purity of expression.

Piano master Mike Wofford has lived such a storybook career that it's easy to get lost in the long maze of his past accomplishments and forget about what a vital force he is right now.

Fortunately, Dan Atkinson and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla gave local jazz fans the opportunity to experience the virtuoso live, in celebration of his soon-to-be-released solo CD, It's Personal, in a rare double-feature performance on June 30.

Wofford's improvising aesthetic has risen to a level of pure communication --stripped free of artifice and cliché, his touch alone can trigger an array of feelings. The pianist doesn't just enter the "zone", he holds the door open for the listener.

As he began disseminating "Little Melonae," into different dimensions of time, bluesy asides brushed against pastoral expression and extraordinarily tasteful manipulation of the bass register.

The title track of the new album found him soaring gracefully over choice voice-leading --Wofford's ability to organize harmony is so deeply informed he can induce a reverie simply by striking lush and resonant chords that become complete statements in and of themselves.

He distilled "It Don't Mean A Thing," into oblique angles -- using sparse single notes set with devastating sure-footedness that refracted pure connections to the blues. Continuing with the noir-ish "The Eighth Veil," his thematic extrapolation conjured up a litany of cinematic images.

Indeed, Wofford's gift lies in the way he is able to transform the material into a personal narrative way beyond the theme-solo-theme pattern that dominates much of the standard jazz practice.

Balancing a stripped-down stride with impressionistic harmonies, his dedication to Earl Hines, "Hines Catch-up," toggled between left-hand colors and right-hand filigree, and the way he opened up the Talking Heads tune "Once In A Lifetime," defied explanation.

Intimate, sublime and full of surprise. What more could you ask for?

Photo by Anthony Cecena

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Piano master Mike Wofford has lived such a storybook career that it's easy to get lost in the long maze of his past accomplishments and forget about what a vital force he is right now.

Fortunately, Dan Atkinson and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla gave local jazz fans the opportunity to experience the virtuoso live, in celebration of his soon-to-be-released solo CD, It's Personal, in a rare double-feature performance on June 30.

Wofford's improvising aesthetic has risen to a level of pure communication --stripped free of artifice and cliché, his touch alone can trigger an array of feelings. The pianist doesn't just enter the "zone", he holds the door open for the listener.

As he began disseminating "Little Melonae," into different dimensions of time, bluesy asides brushed against pastoral expression and extraordinarily tasteful manipulation of the bass register.

The title track of the new album found him soaring gracefully over choice voice-leading --Wofford's ability to organize harmony is so deeply informed he can induce a reverie simply by striking lush and resonant chords that become complete statements in and of themselves.

He distilled "It Don't Mean A Thing," into oblique angles -- using sparse single notes set with devastating sure-footedness that refracted pure connections to the blues. Continuing with the noir-ish "The Eighth Veil," his thematic extrapolation conjured up a litany of cinematic images.

Indeed, Wofford's gift lies in the way he is able to transform the material into a personal narrative way beyond the theme-solo-theme pattern that dominates much of the standard jazz practice.

Balancing a stripped-down stride with impressionistic harmonies, his dedication to Earl Hines, "Hines Catch-up," toggled between left-hand colors and right-hand filigree, and the way he opened up the Talking Heads tune "Once In A Lifetime," defied explanation.

Intimate, sublime and full of surprise. What more could you ask for?

Photo by Anthony Cecena

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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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