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Feb. 18, a very special Joshua White Quintet will be performing in The Back Room at 98 Bottles in Little Italy.

The concert will focus on the music of innovators Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman.

The Quintet is comprised of heavyweight musicians from the LA and Irvine area, featuring Michael Dessen on trombone, Gavin Templeton on alto saxophone, Dave Robaire on double bass and Dan Schnelle on drums.

Dessen is a pioneer in the use of live electronics in an improvised context, and is one of the leading trombonists in the free jazz world today. His most recent CD, Forget The Pixel has earned rave reviews in DownBeat magazine, and All About Jazz, the world's largest jazz web resource.

Robaire has been tearing up the LA jazz scene since returning from New York recently. Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos characterized him as one of "the hottest bass players out there."

Templeton has logged significant recording and performing experience as a member of legendary multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia's various ensembles, turning in show-stopping features on Golia's Music For Baritone Saxophone and Abstractions and Retrocausalities.

Drummer Dan Schnelle has been doing a lot of work with White lately, and he's an excellent fit for the exploratory dynamic the pianist favors. Schnelle is an active and multidirectional percussionist, capable of layering waves of intricate ride cymbal patterns that can veer off into a new direction at the most subtle cue from White.

As for White himself, 2011 was a banner year for the musician, placing second in the International Thelonious Monk piano competition in Washington DC. He just returned from his first engagement as a leader in NYC, at the Tribeca Theatre as part of the "Monk-In-Motion" series--which featured performances by the top three finalists in the competition.

Hearing these musicians tackle the wide-open possibilities inherent in the music of Monk and Coleman figures to be an indescribable experience.

The concert begins at 8 pm, but I would get there early. The Back Room is a small venue, fills up quickly and will probably be packed before show time.

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Photo of Joshua White by Michael Oletta

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