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The small group of people behind the San Diego Center for the Arts keep putting on increasingly dynamic shows for the jazz/creative music community -- and while these performances haven't caught on with the public at large as of yet -- the music itself has rarely soared to the degree that the Oct. 12 Double Duo concert did, at Villa Musica.

David Borgo/ Jeanette Kangas: Tribute to Ed Blackwell

Borgo opened on tenor with an appropriately Dewey Redman fluidity over Kangas' parade rhythms on "Willisee," and, as each moment passed, the obvious became more and more diffuse as Borgo traversed from honeyed textures to harsher, warbled areas while Kangas kept a sharp mix of relaxed hyperactivity brewing.

Things took a drastic and oblique turn with Borgo's original paean to Sam Rivers, "Rivers of Consciousness," which took on the asymmetrical connotations of a genuine conversation as Borgo worried a series of phrases and Kangas countered with a muted assault of busy counterpunches.

Like Blackwell, not matter how "out" the proceedings became, Kangas kept an unshakable groove happening throughout -- even on the nasal, double reed exotica of "We Hope," there was a Pan-African dance being suggested by her hands-on-traps maneuvers.

After Borgo pulled off a slinky Plas Johnson approximation on the rubbery "I'm Not Good at Naming things," the duo finished up with Borgo's original, "Oddity," a splintered, fragmented fanfare that reminded me of David Murray's work in the 1980's.

Vinny Golia/ Nathan Hubbard

The LA multi-woodwind virtuoso Golia is a giant of the post-Coltrane continuum, and his pairing with San Diego's most creative drummer was a priceless experience. Eschewing "tunes" or any written cues, their performance was one 45 minute improvisation of kaleidoscopic vignettes.

Hubbard led off with tiny cymbal pings and ominous drum rumblings as Golia began on an ethnic wooden flute before transitioning to a burbling essay on sopranino saxophone, where his acuity with circular breathing shifted from fractal squiggles to impassioned squalls as Hubbard's constant activity ranged from hammered counterpoint to whisper quiet.

Golia choice of a double-reed folk instrument with the liquid quality of a clarinet hastened a flurry of tribal rhythms from his partner, and, when the dynamics drew down, a series of chains and other household objects dragged along the floor-tom made for some welcome levity and visual detail.

When Golia strapped on a baritone saxophone, his affinity for the instrument was borne out with a dazzling sequence of unchained ideas made all the more dramatic by Hubbard's input, which took on the character of rolling thunder snaking through a mountain pass. Slap tongue blats and multiphonic growls brought out the freedom factor from the drummer, who fused the cyclic waves of motion pioneered by Sunny Murray and Milford Graves in the 1960's into a present day aesthetic.

All four musicians combined for the closer, tying together the threads of creative ideas set into motion on an evening that will be hard to forget.

Photo by Chad Fox

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