Joe Lovano: I'm All For You (2004)

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Joe Lovano: I'm All For You
Joe Lovano’s unique tone gives his ballad album a whispering quality that stays up close and intimate throughout. He’s with you back there at the corner table as you nurse your drink for another hour in one of your town’s respected nightclubs. Most of the crowd has already called it a night, but you’re loving this mood too much to go home. The tenor saxophone sound that wafts gently from his horn lifts your spirits and reminds you of the tradition that wedded your heart to jazz in the first place.

Lovano is a baby boomer. Consequently, he’s experimented with different aspects of modern jazz. Avant-garde forays, folk music sojourns, and bebop tirades have placed the eclectic artist in different situations. His desire to explore, while helping to make the music grow some, has turned a few fans away these past few years. It can be tough for a marginal enthusiast to sit patiently, watching the sweat drip off Lovano’s nose as he furiously fights to get all the notes in. When a sudden gong strikes up or when an unexpected saxophone squeal is turned loose, the fan who wasn’t so sure⦠still isn’t sure.

This time, though, it’s for keeps. Lovano’s heartfelt love of the tradition comes through clearly and without a doubt. “I Waited for You” symbolizes the album’s place in today’s enigmatic jazz world. Pure and simple, with a cohesive trio of all-stars alongside, Joe Lovano clears the air and erases any doubts about where his heart lies.

The quartet interprets as one. Their veteran approach to standards and ballad improvisation brings them together automatically. Hank Jones and George Mraz solo with crisp, lyrical phrasing that extends the mood created by these songs of passion. Fine and mellow, each piece represents something personal. When Lovano adds his burnished tone to a familiar theme, it takes on a new appearance. He improvises fluidly and rains the magic on his audience. Straight from the heart of jazz, I’m All For You wins my vote for album of the year.

Track Listing: I'm All For You 2. Don't Blame Me 3. Monk's Mood 4. The Summary 5. Stella By Starlight 6. I Waited For You 7. Like Someone In Love 8. Early Autumn 9. Countdown.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Hank Jones: piano; George Mraz: bass; Paul Motian- drums.

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

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