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The duo of Sergio Salvatore (piano) and Christo Rafalides (vibes) began with the title cut from their recent release Dark Sand and continued with a funky off-kilter version of Charles Mingus's "Nostalgia in Times Square."

Salvatore was a child prodigy who made his debut recording at age 11. At 25, he's a veteran. Vibist Rafalides grew up in Greece and received early training in classical percussion.

Whether swinging standards like "What Is This Thing Called Love?" or playing original material, this duo effectively rocked the house. Much of their playing was lyrical and chamber-like, but the improvisations often built over time to rapid intertwining statements -- often finishing each other's ideas.

Especially memorable was the Salvatore original "Spring Song," which featured a furious Rafalides solo -- his mallets flew over the keys. Salvatore has a lighter touch, perhaps due to his extensive background in classical music. No matter how knotty and frenzied his solos got, he appeared to hardly touch the keyboard.

  • Concert: Sergio Salvatore and Christo Rafalides
  • Show date: March 9
  • Venue: San Diego City College Saville Theater
  • Seats: wings (both sides)
  • Photo by M.Oletta
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