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Wednesday, Jan 29 1997
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Andrew Cyrille and Carlos Ward; Miya Masaoka and George Lewis
Expect an earful when Koncepts Cultural Gallery presents its fifth annual "Double-Up" series beginning this weekend and running for the next two Saturdays. The opening event showcases dynamic duos Andrew Cyrille (percussion) and Carlos Ward (alto sax/flute), and Miya Masaoka (koto) and George Lewis (trombone).

Celebrated veterans of Cecil Taylor's bands, Cyrille and Ward share a common history in the mightiest form of improv built on intensity and stamina. They know how to tune in to infinitesimal shifts in direction at any tempo or volume and can play both sensitively and with great passion. Acclaimed innovators on instruments seldom heard in saxcentric jazz circles, Masaoka and Lewis bring the illimitable possibilities of electronics/computer technologies along with instrumental savvy.

Perhaps more than any other context, the duet reduces improvisation to its core exchange: dialogue between a pair of "voices" with a mutual vocabulary. This intimacy makes it relatively simple for the audience to follow the flow of ideas. With nowhere to hide, players must be all ears and deliver split-second responses that develop the conversational material, or face the music (so to speak). From intro to encore, the attentive listener can track every nuance of the performance, and in the end, call it like it is.

-- Sam Prestianni

Andrew Cyrille and Carlos Ward, and Miya Masaoka and George Lewis, perform on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. at the James Moore Theater in the Oakland Museum (10th Street and Fallon). Tickets are $15; call (510) 451-5231.

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Sam Prestianni

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