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Jazz legend Charles McPherson performs at Palomar

Jazz legend Charles McPherson, used with permission from Charles McPherson and Palomar Performing Arts Department. Photo credit: Palomar Performing Arts Department

After many years in the making, jazz legend Charles McPherson joins the stage with Palomar’s Jazz Ensemble, Night and Day Jazz Bands.

McPherson will join the stage with the Palomar College Day and Night Jazz Ensembles on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Howard Brubeck Theater. Paul Kurokawa will direct the performance. Palomar Performing Arts department describes the performance as a “diverse repertoire of timeless classics and contemporary compositions that promise to captivate music enthusiasts of all ages.”

This performance was originally planned to take place “a couple of years ago,” according to McPherson, but COVID-19 restrictions caused a delay in plans. As a result of the long wait, McPherson hasn’t gotten the chance to rehearse with the Night and Day Jazz Ensemble, but he’s still looking forward to performing with the students.

“I’m going to be playing some originals… And I will, of course, be playing some of the songs and charts of the old school plays. And so it’d be a combination of things like that. And I’m looking forward to it,” McPherson said.

Charles McPherson was born in Missouri in 1939, but his family moved to Detroit when he was nine. In Detroit, he studied pianist Barry Harris. And by the time McPherson was 19, he was playing jazz professionally. McPherson’s official website explains more of his success, which details the many talented musicians he’s performed with and the countries he’s performed at, ranging from the United States to Japan.

This is also not the first time McPherson has played with students. McPherson has led lectures and learning clinics for music students at many colleges and universities.

“I do this a lot all over the world, and I’m impressed,” McPherson explained. “There are some very smart, young people, men and women that are into music… I’m always a little surprised that jazz even resonates with them. Because there’s nothing about the larger society that really puts jazz music in their faces… Jazz is kind of like classical music,” McPherson said.

One piece of advice that McPherson gives student musicians is to practice not only the technicalities of music but also how they channel their emotions into art.

“Now, this is where things get complicated. Because this is not a matter of practicing… this has something to do with what kind of person you are. What do you think about life in general? How do you feel? Are you able to use your craft to express deep sadness? Are you able to use your craft to express extreme joy? That’s the artistic part, the human part. How do you use what you do to express the human condition,” McPherson explained.

This is the level of art that McPherson aims to express during the performance. He explained that art should be compelling and give the audience something to consider. And for him, good art is something that can express a variety of emotions.

“What you want to do is give them all of the variety of feelings that you can have and then be complete with it… So to be able to have a performance that has that kind of dimension emotionally, and have the craft to pull it off, to me, that’s a successful performance,” McPherson said.

For more information and tickets for the performance, visit the Palomar Performing Arts website.

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Jazz legend Charles McPherson performs at Palomar