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Sunday, February 10, 2013

CD Review: Joe Lovano UsFive - Cross Culture.

Joe Lovano (tenor, G mezzo Sop., tarogato, aulochrome + various ethnic instruments); Lionel Louke (gtr); James Weidman (pno); Esperanza Spalding/Peter Slavov (bs); Otis Brown III, Francisco Mela (dms).
(Review by Lance.)
This Blue Note release is a living endorsement of the labels motto The finest in jazz since 1939. This has all the elements of those classic '50s sessions by Mobley, Blakey, Turrentine, Byrd and co. albeit in a more contemporary vein.
Ten originals by Lovano and a sumptuous reading of Strayhorn's Star Crossed Lovers (Romeo and Juliet) - Such Sweet Thunder indeed. 
As well as tenor, Lovano plays G mezzo soprano which I take to be a minor 3rd below the normal Bb sop? Correct me if I'm wrong. It seems to have a mellower sound than the the normal sop., tarogato and aulochrome. This latter instrument is fascinating. It comprises two sopranos joined together with two mouthpieces but a single fingering system which operates both sets of keys - imagine if Roland Kirk had got hold of one of these!
However, it is on Royal Roost, where Joe Lovano blows contemporary bop tenor, that he delivers the killer blow.
It could be said that Lovano, Redman and Rollins are the last of the tenor titans. For me, Lovano's wonderful dry sound edges it.
Not that this is just about the saxman - how could it be with Lionel Loueke on guitar? The West African slots in nicely as part front-line/part rhythm section and super soloist.
Weidman on piano is excellent and the two drummers play as one. Because the liner notes are indecipherable (dull yellow on black) to any one whose vision is less than 20:20, I'm unable to say which bassist plays on which tracks although I did manage to pick up that Spalding plays on four and with Slavov on one.
That apart, a terrific CD that is currently my front runner.
Joe Lovano UsFive - Cross Culture is released by Blue Note on February 25.
Lance.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Spalding - tracks 1,5,8,10
Slavov - tracks 2,3,4,8,9,11

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