Jazz on a summer's weekend

Alvin Batiste of the New Orleans Contemporary Music Masters
Jazz on a summer's weekend

Now in its fifth year, the annual Summer Jazz Series is based on the concept of booking top-notch jazz performers who don't frequent San Antonio stages on a regular basis.

"It has to be somebody that you'd probably see at the Village Vanguard or the Blue Note on any given weekend. In other words, a major person in mainstream jazz," says James Bridges, location-recording specialist for Musical Bridges Around the World, a local non-profit that produces an estimated 20 chamber-music concerts every year.

The Summer Jazz Series is a joint promotional venture between the organization's jazz offshoot and KRTU 91.7 FM, which provides this city's finest jazz programming. This year's concerts - which will be held at Trinity University's Stieren Theater - feature veteran New Orleans clarinet master Alvin Batiste, and piano virtuoso Jacky Terrasson.

Trinity summer Jazz series

New Orleans Contemporary Music Masters
Friday, August 13

Jacky Terrasson Trio
Saturday, August 14

$15 Friday;
$20 Saturday
Stieren Theater
One Trinity Place
Trinity University
Batiste, 67, has long been one of jazz's most accomplished clarinetists, having logged time with heavyweights such as Ray Charles, Ornette Coleman, and Ellis Marsalis (he also taught Marsalis' son, Branford). "He's old, he's grumpy, he's a New Orleans kind of guy, so we liked that too, that you get a walking history," Bridges says.

Bridges, a skilled jazz musician who played standup bass for legendary Texas tenors Arnett Cobb and Clifford Scott, says, "We also try to do an international and a regional act, even if the region is some area other than this one."

If Batiste qualifies as a regional act, the French-American Terrasson provides a vaguely international feel. His 2001 Blue Note album, A Paris, was devoted to the music of France, focusing on the catalog of icons such as Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet. He's also shown a knack for finding complex harmonic possibilities behind American pop songs like Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely?" He's a technical marvel with a populist's sensibility. •

By Gilbert Garcia