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Concert Review: Dana Leong at the D.C. Jazz Festival

A cello, turntables and bass trio merges jazz and hip-hop

Dana Leong

There aren’t many electric cellists in jazz, let alone ones who can draw an audience to the basement of a synagogue on a Thursday night under threat of severe storms and tornadoes. As part of the 2013 DC Jazz Festival, Dana Leong brought his trio (consisting of himself, Lex Sadler on six-string electric bass, and DJ Icewater on turntables) to Washington, D.C.’s Sixth & I Synagogue on June 13, to perform in front of a small but receptive audience.

The trio moved briskly through a 10-song set and two-song encore. Leong is a gifted cellist, capable of both strong arco and quick, precise pizzicato with bluesy inflection. The pizzicato was used to fine effect in the opening tune, the Sam Cooke classic “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and he used the bow to create a haunting tone for “Theme From Life After Dark,” a cut from Leong’s Milk & Jade quartet recording.

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