The nonet that Joe Lovano brought to New York’s Village Vanguard the last week of September 2002 returned to the good old days of jamming with well-known friends and improvising over established tunes. Like Supersax, the ensemble emphasizes a collective sound that features unison melodies that ring familiar and true to the veteran bebop fan. Everybody solos well, with the fresh kind of enthusiasm that only comes when you’re in the company of like-minded artists who respect and know each other well. By recording at the end of a weeklong engagement, Lovano seems to have captured his nonet at its most cohesive moments.
Tributes to John Coltrane and Tadd Dameron keynote the session with a vital force. Not gone and never forgotten, straight-ahead jazz still leaves a lot of room for individual expression. Lovano has chosen to revel in the heyday of a time when Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker created inroads for Woody Herman, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis; and folks of our generation found out that the jazz world could take many different paths toward growth. Lovano has traveled that road before. Like most of us, he prefers avant-garde growth in small doses. In fact, his nonet subscribes to the progressive, experimental school of growth here, on this session. It’s through his piece “On This Day Just Like Any Other” that Lovano manages to tear it up and connect the dots between bebop, post-bop and our future. Their jamming opens doors. What comes next is up to us.
The roots of modern jazz have been paid their due respects through On This Day. With an all-star ensemble such as this, Lovano will no doubt continue to lead the way, as straight-ahead jazz spreads its umbrella across the artistic universe.
Personnel: Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Ralph Lalama- tenor saxophone; Steve Slagle- alto saxophone; Scott Robinson- baritone saxophone; Barry Ries- trumpet; Larry Farrell- trombone; John Hicks- piano; Dennis Irwin- bass; Lewis Nash- drums.