Charles McPherson says Dizzy’s when asked about a favorite local venue. “Through the years, I have self-promoted my own gigs there.”
Approaching 78, McPherson is considered the nation’s preeminent bebop alto saxophonist. He lives in Talmadge Park with his wife Lynn and their daughter, the ballet dancer Camille. McPherson, raised in Detroit, and with a résumé that includes more than a dozen years in Charles Mingus’s band, is presently Composer in Residence with the San Diego Ballet Company. He has lived in San Diego since the early 1970s.
“Reeds? My favorite place to get reeds for my saxophone is Alan’s Music in La Mesa. When I rehearse,” he says, “I rehearse at home.”
He admits that the bulk of his live performances is out of town. “The most involvement I’ve had with this city’s arts scene is the ballet,” he says. “I’m writing a new piece for violin, cello, and saxophone.”
McPherson favors lunches with friends at the Kensington Café, or at Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant on Park Boulevard, all within close distance from his neighborhood. “Visually, it’s a nice-looking area,” he says of Talmadge. “It’s an old neighborhood. No two houses look alike. The greenery, the mix of hardwoods and palm trees. And the neighbors here are tolerant of us, Lynn teaching piano and me blowing saxophone all day. We’re the loud family. I’m, like, a practice nut. I practice a lot.”