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Saxophonist Jason Robinson made his impending exit from the area official with a blistering 2 hour plus concert on June 2, at Dizzy's. A healthy crowd of friends and fans gathered for the affair, which featured some of the best improvisers in San Diego.

Working with a core quartet of Josh White on piano, Rob Thorsen on bass and Duncan Moore on drums, Robinson ripped into the free-boppish "The Wiggle Room", which alternated between a fast 4/4 and suspended pedaling.

Composer Anthony Davis came onstage for a pensive, then stormy reading of "Shimmer" a selection from a Davis opera, "Amistad."

Robinson augmented his quartet with a 7 piece woodwind ensemble featuring trombonists Michael Dessen and Andy Geib, saxophonists David Borgo, Ellen Weller, Colin Friedkin and bass clarinetist Gabriel Sundy. Jeff Kaiser conducted and played trumpet on expanded arrangements of pieces from Robinson's critically acclaimed CD, "The Two Faces Of Janus."

Highlights included the Mingus meets Oliver Nelson-ish "Silence Becomes A Roar", and the rhythm section feature of "Cerberus Reigning", which drew deep solos from Thorsen, White and Moore.

Robinson's improvisations referenced the long history of free-jazz saxophone, from Archie Shepp's raspy vocalizations to the slap-tongued multiphonics of Anthony Braxton.

The musician has been teaching in Massachusetts for the last three years, coming back here to spend time with loved ones and the occasional gig. Now that he's becoming a permanent New Englander, his work with his New York ensemble, featuring heavy hitters like bassist Drew Gress, guitarist Liberty Ellman, drummer George Schuller and horn players Marty Erlich and Rudresh Mahanthappa, will no doubt raise his international profile to a more substantial and deserved, level.

photo by Michael Klayman

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