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.
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. •