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San Diego piano powerhouse Mikan Zlatkovich began his Sept. 14 concert at Dizzy's fronting a potent trio featuring bassist Bill Andrews and drummer Duncan Moore, on a surging interpretation of the Cole Porter classic, "So In Love." By the time Moore and Andrews abandoned the "2" feel for a full-fledged "4", the entire room was consumed by the fiery leader's choice harmonies and bluesy ebullience. Andrews snuck in a short solo and Moore answered with explosive logistics.

Flute virtuoso Lori Bell and electric violinist Jamie Shadowlight joined the group for Chick Corea's "Dear Alice," which began with a nimble Andrews solo steeped in the Gary Peacock/ Miraslov Vitous tradition. After a masterful Bell/Shadowlight unison, Bell took flight with a solo that soared into piercing high tones, shook up with warbling vibrato and super-charged trills. Over an insistent rhythmic pedal, Shadowlight got her inner gypsy together before yielding to Zlatkovich's streams of cascading, double-fisted volleys with Moore.

Tenor saxophone master Daniel Jackson took to the stage for a lilting reading of "Midnight Voyage," owning each moment with his smoldering assurance, twisting blue spirals into the rafters. Zlatkovich's ideas swing with authority and his blues foundation is always up to code.

Zlatkovich took to the electric piano and Moore incorporated a synthesized tabla to set up "Ethereal Mood," as a vehicle for Shadowlight's effects-laden exploration of modal textures. The trio with Moore and Andrews resurfaced for a tightly choreographed assault on "New York Attitude," which featured flying keys and a superbly orchestrated drum solo.

Jackson and Bell returned for "Shades of Light," the saxophonist lifting things into a higher dimension with serpentine lines that wrapped around the contours as the flutist responded with a fluttering velocity that touched on the Eric Dolphy continuum.

One of the strongest conceptions I've seen from Zlatkovich in quite some time. Nicely done.

Photo by Dennis Anderson, DennisAndersenPhotography.com

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