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Mikan Zlatkovitch brought his unique conception of "jazz-fusion" into Anthology last night for an evening of wide-ranging, virtuosic and rhythmically challenging music, fueled by the electric bass of Dave Curtis and the powerhouse drumming of Duncan Moore.

Opening as a trio, they tore into a John McLaughlin piece, "Que Allegria," with metric precision, locking horns on several key vamps, with Curtis out in front in a remarkably nimble solo expression. Zlatkovich exploited thick, processed chord textures and the ability to turn on a dime.

Flutist Lori Bell, violinist Jamie Shadowlight and vocalist Allison Adams Tucker took the stage for "Peruvian Blue," a Latin tune with an intricate melody. Bell is one of the unsung masters of the SD jazz scene--right away she crafted a winding improvisation with full-bodied timbre and daring harmonic choices. Shadowlight followed, she's definitely growing as an improviser and learning to utilize the electric violin more effectively--especially drawing thicker textures via reverb and delay to exact more excitement from sparser gestures. When Zlatkovich soloed, he took things into a higher dynamic--pushing the rhythm section into explosive exchanges.

Shadowlight got a feature spot on McCoy Tyner's "Senor Carlos," generating some drama with a nicely executed chromatic double-stop glissandi. Zlatkovich opened the piece up with powerful stabs of harmony then Curtis stole the show with exotic scales and chords.

My favorite moment came on Pat Metheny's, "Tell It All," with Tucker's wordless vocals sailing through the theme, Bell darting, carving spirals around the changes--all inspiring Zlatkovich towards his best solo of the evening--layered ideas traveling in elliptical orbits over the pinpoint ride cymbal articulation of Moore.

In many ways, Moore was the secret to the evening's success--he can really shine in this context--driving the band from the drumkit--where his solos became storytelling workshops.

Photo by Bonnie Wright


Leah Bowden: "Welcome to the struggle of all music to be free."

Percussionist and UCSD grad student Bowden presents her D.M.A Recital this Sunday, 8 pm, at the CPMC Experimental theater in a concert of three parts: conceptual solo pieces. a video screening (for a brand new series entitled Free Jazz Reality Television) and performances with the electric bass of Clint McCallum and the piano of Anthony Davis.

Bowden will perform material of her own as well as pieces by Sven-Ake Johansson in her solo set; the screening will focus on she and McCallum's graduate studies with the iconic Davis, who will join her in the final portion of the evening. She and McCallum will also play "Machine Gun," by tenor saxophonist Peter Brotzmann and "Conquistador," by pianist Cecil Taylor.

I've seen Bowden perform with flute-giant Nicole Mitchell, and I remember being incredibly impressed by her musicianship. This looks to be a fascinating glimpse into the birth of a percussive master--plus, the opportunity to catch Davis in action can not be missed.

Photo courtesy Leah Bowden

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