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Scenes From Arts-burgh: 'A Gershwinter Night' among the year's top jazz concerts

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Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
 

An offering from Pittsburgh's cultural arts and entertainment events:

REVIEW

‘A Gershwinter Night'

A visit by Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri was an appropriate feature of a program celebrating the historic social interaction between Jews and African-Americans.

“A Gershwinter Night” concerts on Saturday and Sunday at the August Wilson Center, Downtown, were a look at the role of the music of George and Ira Gershwin in jazz.

A quintet led by trumpeter Sean Jones performed some of the famous works of the Gershwin brothers, from a sizzling “I Got Rhythm” to a beautiful “I Loves You Porgy,” which featured Jones.

Jones says he wanted the show to be a straightforward presentation of the Gershwin music that also would give the players a chance to stretch out. It did. He and Degibri got to display their similar skills: incredible speed and improvisational abilities, along with great sensitivity when called for.

Degibri, for instance, opened the show with a laid-back version of “They Can't Take That Away From Me” that was, in some ways, the antithesis of the speed he showed on “A Foggy Day.”

The band also featured drummer Roger Humphries, bassist Dwayne Dolphin and pianist Alton Merrell, who all played at their expected high levels. Singer Carolyn Perteete sat in for lovely versions of “The Man I Love” and “But Not for Me,” among others.

The quality of the play and the material puts these concerts in with the top jazz events of the year.

— Bob Karlovits

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