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Tonga Ross-Ma'u Trio + 1

Nice opportunity to catch some rising stars.

One of the coolest things about Chuck Perrin and Dizzy's, is the opportunity he provides San Diego's next wave of improvisers to showcase their abilities.

Tonga Ross-Ma'u is an emerging talent who capitalized on that exposure on Sept. 12, fronting a trio featuring double-bass stalwart Antar Martin and young drum phenomenon Fernando Gomez

I've caught Ross-Ma'u several times in the past year, usually playing both piano and guitar, although this latest gig focused on his piano work.

Opening "Viennese Summer," with pensive harmonies grounded by Martin's singing bass lines and the shimmering cymbals of Gomez. Ross-Ma'u developed his phrasing with deliberation, giving each sequence a chance to breathe, melodically, followed by a throaty, wood-grained statement from the bass.

"Jangling," brought LA tenor saxophonist Brian Clancy into the mix on Ross-Ma'u's 16-bar blues. Martin hit first with a dark, rope-textured feature that grooved from end-to-end, then Clancy carved golden hued arcs with languid phrasing--building incrementally from a slow to full boil. Ross-Ma'u constructed his solo from one hammered note, picking up velocity and ornamentation with surges of bluesy filigree.

His original waltz, "When Words Are Not Enough," was an inspired example of his compositional ability--a gorgeous melody that reminded me of Keith Jarrett's "European Quartet," where Clancy's burnished tenor soared above the moaning whole notes of Martin and the gentle swirl of Gomez' brushes. Ross-Ma'u has a deft motion with diatonic harmonies and a delicate way of crafting melodic information on the spot.

Gomez got a chance to shine with an explosive soliloquy on "One Finger Snap" telling a complete story in the process, and Ross Ma'u shifted from a sublime solo reading of "My Funny Valentine," into a very ECM- sounding "Skylark," which was lyrical and organic.

They closed with McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance," drawing Ross-Ma'u into a forceful display of rhythmic jabbing in response to the percussive onslaught of Gomez. Clancy trilled and flirted with altissimo dynamics and Martin's deep, time-centric solo quoted bugle-calls and other ideas from the overtone series.

Photo by Bonnie Wright

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One of the coolest things about Chuck Perrin and Dizzy's, is the opportunity he provides San Diego's next wave of improvisers to showcase their abilities.

Tonga Ross-Ma'u is an emerging talent who capitalized on that exposure on Sept. 12, fronting a trio featuring double-bass stalwart Antar Martin and young drum phenomenon Fernando Gomez

I've caught Ross-Ma'u several times in the past year, usually playing both piano and guitar, although this latest gig focused on his piano work.

Opening "Viennese Summer," with pensive harmonies grounded by Martin's singing bass lines and the shimmering cymbals of Gomez. Ross-Ma'u developed his phrasing with deliberation, giving each sequence a chance to breathe, melodically, followed by a throaty, wood-grained statement from the bass.

"Jangling," brought LA tenor saxophonist Brian Clancy into the mix on Ross-Ma'u's 16-bar blues. Martin hit first with a dark, rope-textured feature that grooved from end-to-end, then Clancy carved golden hued arcs with languid phrasing--building incrementally from a slow to full boil. Ross-Ma'u constructed his solo from one hammered note, picking up velocity and ornamentation with surges of bluesy filigree.

His original waltz, "When Words Are Not Enough," was an inspired example of his compositional ability--a gorgeous melody that reminded me of Keith Jarrett's "European Quartet," where Clancy's burnished tenor soared above the moaning whole notes of Martin and the gentle swirl of Gomez' brushes. Ross-Ma'u has a deft motion with diatonic harmonies and a delicate way of crafting melodic information on the spot.

Gomez got a chance to shine with an explosive soliloquy on "One Finger Snap" telling a complete story in the process, and Ross Ma'u shifted from a sublime solo reading of "My Funny Valentine," into a very ECM- sounding "Skylark," which was lyrical and organic.

They closed with McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance," drawing Ross-Ma'u into a forceful display of rhythmic jabbing in response to the percussive onslaught of Gomez. Clancy trilled and flirted with altissimo dynamics and Martin's deep, time-centric solo quoted bugle-calls and other ideas from the overtone series.

Photo by Bonnie Wright

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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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