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Tenor saxophonist Joe Marillo has been a San Diego jazz institution since the 1970's and he continues to carry the torch into his august years as he demonstrated on 08/23, in celebration of his recently departed friend, Gary LeFebvre at Dizzy's in Pacific Beach.

Over the buoyant harmonies of pianist Joshua White, Marillo dug into "East of the Sun," with his trademarked warm and burnished sound, yielding to White, whose own solo teemed with melodic information, choice voicings and bluesy touches.

The groaning whole notes of Bob Magnusson and the gentle swirl of Jim Plank's brushes established a waltz reverie for "Alice In Wonderland." Following a masterful piano solo, Magnusson choreographed liquid tones in perfect pitch while Marillo's flute soared and chirped in response.

Marillo's bronzed timbre and organic feel layered comfortably around the throbbing bass and lilting chords of bass and piano, but it was the ever-sure Latin groove of Plank that really made "Quiet Nights," sing. If they made a drum machine or a computer program with Plank's taste -- everyone would sound like a genius.

Tom Barabas, who had been playing "undercurrent" keyboard parts, took over the piano chair for a reading of "My One and Only Love," demonstrating a deft and sensitive touch, but Magnusson stole the show with a devastatingly lyrical showcase on the same tune. Barabas stuck around for a swinging, 2- beat feel on "Just Squeeze Me," drawing a joyous contribution from Marillo.

Photo by Michael Oletta

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