Joe Locke / David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society 2 (2009)
Locke and Hazeltine played a six night engagement at New York City's Sweet Basil in support of the record and then went their separate ways. Early this year, Edelman brought the quartet back into the studio and once again the co-leaders contribute the bulk of the material. The ringing chords which underlie the melody of Locke's "Pharoah Joy" resemble a revved up version of the foundation of Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan." Dedicated to the late drummer Tony Reedus, Hazeltine's "One For Reedy Ree" entails a throbbing, repetitive introduction followed by an angular melody with a few twists and turns. Based on Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," Locke's "What's Not To Love?" begins with a haunting figure, voiced at the low end of vibes and piano, that reappears in the midst of this bright, optimistic tune. Employing a Latin rhythm and pockets of straight-ahead swing, Hazeltine's "Blues For Buddy" is an up-tempo romp that breathlessly jams a handful of melodies into twenty-four bars.
It's hard to imagine a bassist and drummer better suited to complement Locke and Hazeltine. Essiet and Drummond have so much to contribute, and the bulk of what they play doesn't sound overly assertive or particularly busy. They demonstrate many ways to swing, often subtly tightening or loosening the pressure behind the soloist during the course of a single chorus.
Locke and Hazeltine are expansive, stimulating improvisers who stay in touch with everything going on around them. In the final analysis, however, it's the group's sound that makes the record special. Even on up-tempo tracks like "Convocation" and "Blues For Buddy," there's warmth and a centered vibe to the music. It's a pleasure to hear how they support one another (Hazeltine's comping behind Locke, for example, is marvelous), and always find common ground regardless of the feel or tempo of the material.
Mutual Admiration Society 2 is a significant contribution to the jazz mainstream. Here's hoping another ten years don't have to go by for the next installment.
Track Listing: Pharoah Joy; The Peacocks; One For Reedy Ree; Twelve; What's Not To Love?; Convocation; If It's Magic; Blues For Buddy.
Personnel: Joe Locke: vibes; David Hazeltine: piano; Essiet Essiet: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.
Record Label: Sharp Nine Records