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On July 28, three improvisers met on common ground for a night of open-ended discourse conducted "in the moment" for a small, appreciative crowd at Dizzy's.

Tenor saxophonist Brian Levy, pianist Mikan Zlatkovich and guitarist Peter Sprague opened up with a slow, easy swing feel on "No Greater Love," Sprague connecting chord-tones with chromatic threads while Zlatkovich provided harmonic logic fueled by left-hand bass lines. Levy's tone is brawny and incisive, and he shot guided missiles toward intended targets with zero collateral damage. Zlatkovich turned in a velocity-based solo heavy on the swing factor.

Following up with an unannounced Jobim samba that found Levy purring a la Stan Getz (with a harder edge), the rhythm tandem of piano and guitar reached a zenith, and when Sprague branched out into his solo, the intricate choreography of single-note ideas embracing pliant voice-leading yielded seamlessly to Zlatkovich's effusive runs.

A tough blues with tender transitions, Sprague's "Can't Make Much Sense Out of You," featured the composer hitting first with confidence bubbling over, while Levy tended toward short jabs and counterpunches. At that point, the tune itself dissolved into a three-way discussion where the groove assumed an omnipotence.

Levy's "World As Will," was the ultimate highlight for me. Beginning with Sprague's swirling, orchestral textures and Zlatkovich's Joe Zawinul-esque chords. a dense brew was boiling by the time the composer finally entered. After a distortion laden legato guitar showcase, Levy opened things up by coursing the length of his horn with breakneck scales and honking punctuation.

Not once was the absence of a conventional rhythm section an issue.

Photo by TOM HARTEN

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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