LABELS: Blue Note
ALBUM TITLE: Joe Lovano
PERFORMER: Joe Lovano (ss, as, ts) with various, incl. Dave Douglas (t), Toots Thielemans (hca), Kenny Werner (p)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 27618 2
Fourteen tracks from four different trios make up this engrossing set from leader Joe Lovano. Recorded across two days, the sessions were intended to produce a spontaneous dialogue between nine complex characters familiar with one another’s playing. It worked, and what is especially pleasing is the quiet balance maintained throughout.
There’s no grandstanding and, although the improvisation is free, almost harmolodic, no one goes out so far that the overall dynamic is upset. It’s hard to pick a favourite configuration, though Toots Thielemans’s harp tone sometimes seems a little corrosive beside Lovano’s bright tenor phrases.
Dave Douglas’s trumpet sound is divine in this sparse setting while the bass/drum/Lovano combo allows the leader to demonstrate how to be simultaneously nimble, relaxed and focused.
Although Lovano is sometimes pigeonholed alongside Sonny Rollins and David Murray because of his flexible firepower, this charming CD demonstrates that it is Lovano’s ears, as much as his lungs, that make him special. Garry Booth