Grammy-winner Paul McCandless and Charged Particles, a jazz band trio that includes two Stanford faculty members, performed together for the first time at the Stanford Jazz Festival in a debut for their summer tour, which will continue through August and September.
Charged Particles features jazz piano lecturer Murray Low on the keyboard and Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences Jon Krosnick on the drums, in addition to local musician Aaron Germaine playing the bass. The band’s summer collaborator, McCandless, is known for his work on the saxophone, oboe and English clarinet.
The band has collaborated with numerous artists in the past, such as Vietnamese-French guitarist Nguyen Le and Los Angeles drummer Peter Erskine. However, the group’s latest collaboration is different because McCandless has ties to the Bay Area, having lived there in the past. According to Krosnick, the group’s proximity to McCandless allows for a closer partnership.
“We actually had spent time together as a group,” Krosnick said. “Paul is actually staying at my home while he’s here, so that gives us an opportunity to let our families get to know each other. When we finally walk up on stage, we just start off the show with a smile.”
For their summer show, Charged Particles performs many pieces, most of them written by McCandless. The collaboration allowed McCandless to be not just a performer, but also a leader, McCandless said in a Q&A with the audience before the show.
“I’m honored to be playing with such high [quality] musicians,” McCandless said. “[Charged Particles] perform compositions quite seriously and play them with real artistry and style and creativity.”
Krosnick, who was a fan of McCandless’ music before meeting him, hopes that the collaboration will continue after the tour ends.
“[McCandless’ music is] complex and orchestrated in a way that requires a lot [of] rehearsal time and a lot of individual practice time,” Krosnick said. “We love to do performances that show our audience that we’ve [done] our homework for them.”
Charged Particles began 25 years ago with Krosnick and two other former members. The band’s current lineup is the group’s third generation and formed in 2011 after Krosnick moved to California.
Krosnick says performing at Stanford is a significant accomplishment, since, according to him, the Stanford Jazz Festival is one of the premiere jazz events in the world. It features big-name jazz artists like Ambrose Akinmusire, winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Krosnick and Low have never performed in the festival before, despite both teaching at Stanford for several years. And now, Charged Particles didn’t just perform at the festival: It headlined on a Saturday night.
Krosnick called the honor a “huge treat.”
“Many, many musicians hope for that kind of thing, and I feel very, very lucky because there are plenty of players out there who are as talented or more talented than we are, but we are just lucky enough to get the spot to play on our home turf under a spotlight that is meaningful,” Krosnick said.
Contact Hannan Waliullah at htwaliullah ‘at’ gmail.com.