Damian Draghici plays an instrument that doesn't have much connection with jazz--the panpipe. Nor does his background as a member of a family with a seven-generation history in Romanian music suggest much association with the music, either.
And, in fact, there was no bebop, no blues and no hard-swinging rhythm section in his appearance at the Skirball Cultural Center on Thursday night. Yet the spirit of jazz was present in much of what Draghici had to offer.
Leading a quartet that also included oud player Ara Dinkjian, guitarist Federico Ramos and South Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran, he offered a set of music whose largely Romanian origins were invigorated by improvisations frequently touched with the drive and the rhythmic articulation associated with jazz.
What Jelly Roll Morton once described as the "Spanish tinge" in jazz now seems to have become an "American tinge" in world music.