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12,557 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 276 of them this year alone and, so far, 127 this month (Feb. 28).

Wednesday March 3


Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Album review: Joe Lovano/Marilyn Crispell/ Carmen Castaldi - Trio Tapestry: Garden of Expression

Joe Lovano (tenor/soprano sax, tarogato, gongs)Marilyn Crispell (piano), Carmen Castaldi  (percussion)

If this album were a flower, it would surely be an orchid; fragile and with great beauty, but with great intensity of emotion and colour.  This is Lovano’s second ECM album of originals with this trio, the first was well received in 2019 (review in BSH here.


This format offers a different outlet for Lovano’s expression in a free, textural context rather than his more familiar straight-ahead work, such as with Enrico Rava in 2019 (reviewed here in BSH) 


In 2014 I was lucky enough to hear his tumultuous tenor voice with Jack DeJohnette's Spring Quartet at GIJF. Even more standout that night was DeJohnette - my son’s first live experience of such seemingly unstructured drumming - he recalls he had no idea what he was hearing, it was so far removed from his then experience! (Perhaps that night lit the blue touch paper for subsequent study of jazz drums at Leeds?) 


The drumming here is even further removed from conventional time-keeping and palette, as Castaldi subtly conjures and complements the mood with a textural and rhythmic soundscape spanning gentle bells and brushes through to sonorous toms and sniping snare.  


Crispell’s piano moves from melodic lead through cascading chordal washes – sometimes leading, more often showcasing Lovano’s, by turns, breathy and yearning lines.  


Chapel breaks us in gently with a languorous falling tenor line, gently caressed and worked over with piano. Night Creatures carries on in the same language, a rarefied dialect of whispers and hints, occasionally coalescing – sound and texture not structure – free in line and time, but rooted in harmony. The title track is more direct, with a wholesome repeated motif, falling into a free section with roiling percussion, before restatement and resolution. Treasured Moments and The Sacred Chant are more serene - slowminimal and potentially soporific!  Dream on That is more playful, with all three trading, swapping and circling with more urgency.  The closing Zen Like opens with Lovano’s gong collection, and is a well named ten minutes of dreamy ambiance.  


Gorgeous, intense but relaxing, and awash with subtle ideas and playing. No doubt too ethereal for many listeners’ taste and too ambient for many listening slots, but perhaps the soothing and meditative balm we need for these times?   

Chris K 


Released 29.01.21  Recording made in Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in Lugano and produced by Manfred Eicher. 

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