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Bruno puts on a show of straight-ahead jazz

JIMMY BRUNO, U.'s Libby Gardener Concert Hall, March 12.

Jazz guitarist Jimmy Bruno is a guy who's comfortable in his own skin. He's an artist with the confidence to shed all the hoopla and get down to the business of making good music. And that's exactly what he did for his performance in Libby Gardner Concert Hall Tuesday night.

Joined by local musicians Matt Larsen on bass and Jay Lawrence on drums, Bruno performed a good, solid evening of straight-ahead jazz.

Kind of like his jeans, Bruno and his music are comfortable, well-worn and the genuine article. His music selections stayed mostly with such standard charts as "Moonlight in Vermont," "Body and Soul" and Gershwin's "But Not For Me," although he also threw in a few other selections, such as "Eternal Triangle" and "Big Shoes."

Bruno's style is strictly straight-ahead, but the guy has chops and can really play. He also had fun with "All the Things You Are," playing it in the style of J.S. Bach (mostly sans rhythm section), and did a couple of numbers on his own.

Larsen and Lawrence deserve a lot of credit for the evening's success. When Bruno introduced the two musicians, he said that their rehearsal time together consisted of only two charts. And while there wasn't the spiritual cohesiveness that exists in a trio that plays together regularly, Larsen and Lawrence did a good job following Bruno. They may not have been on the same page emotionally, but at least they were on the same page musically, and both deserve credit for a job well done.

By far the worst part of the evening was the audience. In addition to the usual whispering and occasional cell phone rings, people were streaming in and out — mostly out — in the middle of tunes! One couple stood from their seats — in the middle of the row, and toward the front of the auditorium — and began squeezing past a full row of people. And this was two minutes after the chart started, while the performers were still playing! It's amazing that so many people would have so many emergencies to necessitate such rude behavior.

Note to any university professors giving class credit for concert attendance — your students didn't stay for the entire concert. In fact, they didn't even stay for the entire tune.