02 July 2009

Review: Folk Art

Joe Lovano Us Five
Folk Art
On his newest album, Joe Lovano exhibits the adventurousness you would expect from someone who plays regularly with Paul Motian. Pianist James Weidman also stars here, soloing provocatively and banging out chords while comping in a manner evocative of McCoy Tyner. And bassist Esperanza Spaulding lays down an impressive foundation ornamented by dual drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III. If he keeps this band together, it could quickly become one of the best working groups in jazz. Take a listen to the interplay on "Us Five."

At the risk of repeating myself, one of my favorite aspects of Joe Lovano's style is his luscious tone, which he derives as much from pre-Coltrane saxophonists like Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins as the usual influences. This alone makes checking him out worth it, but there is of course so much more to Lovano than his tone. He is a perhaps underrated titan of postmodern jazz, whose musical personality demands your attention.

Extra Credit: Jazz Video Guy Bret Primack gets a behind-the-scenes look at Lovano's quintet before a performance at the Village Vanguard.

Track Listing: Powerhouse; Folk Art; Wild Beauty; Us Five; Song for Judi; Drum Song; Dibango; Page 4; Ettenro
Personnel: Joe Lovano, saxophone; James Weidman, piano; Esperanza Spaulding, bass; Francisco Mela, Otis Brown III, drums

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