Although there are only ten artists and three of them share the tenor saxophone chair, Joe Lovano’s latest Blue Note album is a big band affair made possible by gifted arranger Willie "Face" Smith. Compositions by Tadd Dameron and other well-known bebop legends from the 52nd Street era represent lovely mood-setting devices for each soloist. And each member of the band has a chance to solo. It’s Lovano’s distinctive tenor that carries most of the solo responsibility, and he’s inspired. After all, bebop was there to nurture all of these guys, either in-person or on recordings.
Lovano does some solo free-thinking for "Abstractions on 52nd Street" as a solo piece, while both Dameron’s "The Scene is Clean" and Billy Strayhorn’s "Passion Flower" appear in small ensemble settings. Elsewhere the big band sound kicks up a storm, fronted by hot solo work, witnessing conversations of traded sixteens, and washing dance music all over the place. Lovano’s tribute to 52nd Street legends captures a genuine mood and expresses it through an all-star lineup.
Track Listing: If You Could See Me Now; On a Misty Night; Sippin' at Bells; Passion Flower; Deal; The Scene is Clean; Whatever Possess'd Me; Charlie Chan; Theme for Ernie; Tadd's Delight; Abstractions on 52nd Street; 52nd Street Theme; Embraceable You.
Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Steve Slagle: alto saxophone; George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Ralph Lalama: tenor saxophone; Gary Smulyan: baritone saxophone; Tim Hagans: trumpet; Conrad Herwig: trombone; John Hicks: piano; Dennis Irwin: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.