By Charlie Swanson
Bay Area jazz trio Charged Particles is not afraid to plug in and get loud when the occasion calls for it. Over its nearly 30-year history, the group has engaged in a variety of genre-blending projects marked by elaborate arrangements and fiery performances.
This month, San Francisco saxophonist Tod Dickow joins Charged Particles for a concert tribute to influential saxophonist and bandleader Michael Brecker (who passed away in 2007) at Blue Note Napa on Wednesday, July 12.
Founded by Stanford professor and drummer Jon Krosnick, Charged Particles also features keyboardist Murray Low and bassist Aaron Germain. Together, the group achieves a broad spectrum of jazz with an emphasis on jazz-fusion’s heavy doses of synthesizers and amplified instruments.
“Around 1970, Miles Davis, Weather Report and others saw synthesizers and the electric bass as a way to increase the volume, increase the energy and increase the breadth of sounds you had to offer audiences,” Krosnick explains. “All of a sudden it became very loud and very intense.”
These days, Krosnick notes that many jazz players have gone back to the acoustic styles popular before 1970, and his aim for Charged Particles is to embrace all of those historic periods and sensibilities into a blend.
“What we want to do is to make sure the audience is engaged and interested and surprised as often as possible,” Krosnick says.
According to Krosnick, Michael Brecker is “in the handful of the most important jazz musicians ever.” “He really set a standard for technical excellence, but his brilliant creative ideas and innovative compositions moved the music forward,” Krosnick says.
Charged Particles, with Tod Dickow; Wednesday, July 12; Blue Note Napa; 1030 Main St., Napa; 7pm and 9:30pm; $10-$20; bluenotenapa.com.