The San Diego jazz community is poised to celebrate the debut performance of the legendary double-bass virtuoso Gary Peacock, who will play an Athenaeum Jazz production on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Scripps Research Institute (10620 John Jay Hopkins Drive) in La Jolla.
I don’t usually do concert previews, but the opportunity to experience Mr. Peacock, who will appear with his New York trio featuring pianist Marc Copland and drummer Joey Baron, is something I’m totally over the moon about.
Peacock changed the scope of the instrument as early as the 1950s, when he arrived on the West Coast after a stint in the Army during the Korean War. Bass wasn’t even his instrument (he originally played vibraphone and piano) -- but after the bassist in his combo left the group, he took up the instrument out of necessity, recalling, “I always sort of knew where the notes were.”
After playing with a “who’s-who” of Los Angeles heavyweights, Mr. Peacock set out for New York, intent on joining the fomenting musical revolution exploding at the time. In 1964, he had perhaps the widest reach in contemporary music -- playing with the Bill Evans Trio at one extreme, while setting the template for free-jazz bass playing with saxophonist Albert Ayler’s group at the other. In between, he subbed for Ron Carter in Miles Davis’s touring band.
A fruitful association with the recently departed piano icon Paul Bley deepened his influence, and in 1983, his hookup with pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette as the Standards Trio changed the face of piano trios forever. The Standards Trio has been a vital force in the music since that time, recording dozens of superb albums on the ECM record label.
This is Mr. Peacock’s first San Diego performance, although he was scheduled to appear at the Athenaeum a few years back before an illness forced him to cancel.
Peacock’s tone, touch and sound are all sui generis, and this concert promises to yield an unforgettable experience. Best of all, tickets are still available, $35 general admission, $30 Athenaeum members, $15 student rush.
This weekend is turning into some kind of double-bass dream. In addition to the Peacock date, on Friday, Feb. 12, Bertram Turetzky will be celebrating his 83rd birthday at Dizzy’s in Pacific Beach (4275 Mission Bay Drive) at 8 p.m. Tickets are going for $15 at the door.
And on Saturday at noon, bass virtuoso Mark Dresser is hosting a Telematic performance at UCSD with Michael Dessen’s trombone, Nicole Mitchell’s flute, Stephanie Richard’s trumpet, and Myra Melford’s piano playing in real time with two musicians broadcasting from Zurich, Switzerland, featuring Matthias Ziegler on flutes and Gerry Hemingway on drums.