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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.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.