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

Jazz camping at UCSD

This is one hell of a week-long immersion into the music.

Things I wish...

I wish there had been programs like the annual UCSD Jazz Camp available back when I was struggling to assimilate jazz as a young musician in the late '70s and early '80s.

I spent the day hanging out at the jazz camp, trying to take in a representative experience by sitting in on Anthony Davis' Composition class, observing veteran double-bassist Rob Thorsen's ensemble class, enjoying conversations with camp founder Daniel Atkinson and getting my mind blown by the evening's faculty concert featuring Davis on piano, Mark Dresser on bass, Michael Dessen on trombone, Mark Ferber on drums, with special guest Hugh Ragin on trumpet.

Throughout the day, I ran into the best musicians in town: guitarist Peter Sprague, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, saxophonists Ben Schachter and David Borgo and pianist Rick Helzer.

Obviously, that's one of the things that makes this camp so special: it is loaded with world class players. There are a lot of similar institutions all over the country-- what makes UCSD stand out is the careful balance between players from the mainstream (which usually constitute 100% of the faculty elsewhere), and musicians from the avant-garde for lack of a better term.

Therefore, students can glean lessons from straightahead legends like saxophonist Charles McPherson and pianist Mike Wofford as well as "new-music" advocates like Davis, Dessen, Dresser and Borgo.

Imagine learning flute from Holly Hofmann or trumpet from Castellanos, or guitar from Sprague. The list goes on and on.

The faculty concert was good enough to induce delirium. Trumpeter Ragin pounced on the malleted drums, rumbling piano and bass overtones with long lines, toggling between whispers and growls, and Dessen followed with massive chortles while Davis built cluster paths into tinkling trills before the theme to Dresser's "For Bradford," came tumbling out. The drums of Ferber were especially active: kicking up waves of kinetic energy.

After dynamic selections from Davis, (the stop/start violent exchange of "Sudden Death,') and Dessen's poignant, "Faith in Humanity," the group brought the house down with Dresser's "Shelly's Shuffle," a raucous, gutbucket assault that came rocketing into the house. The bass solo alone, filled with bi-tonal hammering and 2 handed tapping had me transitioning into a higher plane of consciousness -- one that didn't let up when Davis melded Prof. Longhair and Cecil Taylor into a satisfying whole. There was glorious cacophony and furious thwacking that somehow dissipated into a pianissimo for Ragin's pinpoint slicing through the circus-time rhythmic distillation of Ferber.

You can find out more about next year's camp at [email protected]

None

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Copley family and the Nixons, Dr. Seuss, San Diego Magazine

Helen's turn at the throne, David's missteps, end of the Tribune, union trouble
Next Article

Maya Moon gives Normal Heights a chocolate bar

Minimally processed and naturally sweetened food and drinks shine at new coffee shop alternative

Things I wish...

I wish there had been programs like the annual UCSD Jazz Camp available back when I was struggling to assimilate jazz as a young musician in the late '70s and early '80s.

I spent the day hanging out at the jazz camp, trying to take in a representative experience by sitting in on Anthony Davis' Composition class, observing veteran double-bassist Rob Thorsen's ensemble class, enjoying conversations with camp founder Daniel Atkinson and getting my mind blown by the evening's faculty concert featuring Davis on piano, Mark Dresser on bass, Michael Dessen on trombone, Mark Ferber on drums, with special guest Hugh Ragin on trumpet.

Throughout the day, I ran into the best musicians in town: guitarist Peter Sprague, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, saxophonists Ben Schachter and David Borgo and pianist Rick Helzer.

Obviously, that's one of the things that makes this camp so special: it is loaded with world class players. There are a lot of similar institutions all over the country-- what makes UCSD stand out is the careful balance between players from the mainstream (which usually constitute 100% of the faculty elsewhere), and musicians from the avant-garde for lack of a better term.

Therefore, students can glean lessons from straightahead legends like saxophonist Charles McPherson and pianist Mike Wofford as well as "new-music" advocates like Davis, Dessen, Dresser and Borgo.

Imagine learning flute from Holly Hofmann or trumpet from Castellanos, or guitar from Sprague. The list goes on and on.

The faculty concert was good enough to induce delirium. Trumpeter Ragin pounced on the malleted drums, rumbling piano and bass overtones with long lines, toggling between whispers and growls, and Dessen followed with massive chortles while Davis built cluster paths into tinkling trills before the theme to Dresser's "For Bradford," came tumbling out. The drums of Ferber were especially active: kicking up waves of kinetic energy.

After dynamic selections from Davis, (the stop/start violent exchange of "Sudden Death,') and Dessen's poignant, "Faith in Humanity," the group brought the house down with Dresser's "Shelly's Shuffle," a raucous, gutbucket assault that came rocketing into the house. The bass solo alone, filled with bi-tonal hammering and 2 handed tapping had me transitioning into a higher plane of consciousness -- one that didn't let up when Davis melded Prof. Longhair and Cecil Taylor into a satisfying whole. There was glorious cacophony and furious thwacking that somehow dissipated into a pianissimo for Ragin's pinpoint slicing through the circus-time rhythmic distillation of Ferber.

You can find out more about next year's camp at [email protected]

None

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close