Yesterday afternoon's offering in the Lois J. Wright Memoria Series at the Community College of Baltimore presented two different artists in two separate programs -- the violinist, Diane Monroe, and the pianist, Martin David Jones.
In an interesting and varied program, Monroe proved an impressive artist. Some of her best playing came in two of her own arrangements -- of the traditional hymn, "Amazing Grace," and of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood." Not very many conservatory-trained violinists know how to approach popular music, but Monroe did.
Her unaccompanied rendition of "Amazing Grace" was one of the best arrangements of the piece this listener has ever heard. It was dignified, heart-felt and served up with a delicious dollop of the blues. She was equally persuasive in the Ellington number (in which she was partnered beautifully by the pianist John Dulik). She played with exquisite bow control and color.