All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

12

Joe Lovano Quartet: Classic! Live at Newport

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
It's safe to say that many years from now, when the critics and historians have the benefit of distance to help focus their thoughts, many if not most will continue to hail much of saxophonist Joe Lovano's presently-admired body of work on the Blue Note imprint. But what will stand tallest in said discography? Some may continue to laud the bold, rhythmically charged work of his Us Five quintet; others may celebrate his fascinating Trio Fascination outings; and a different faction may extol the virtues of his commanding quartet dates recorded at the hallowed Village Vanguard. There's no shortage of good options in a portfolio that contains more than two dozen offerings and spans more than a quarter century.

For this writer, it will always be the recordings that Lovano created with pianist Hank Jones—amaranthine beauties that never seem to lose their luster. I'm All For You (Blue Note, 2004) and Joyous Encounter (Blue Note, 2005)—incredibly engaging quartet dates with bassist George Mraz and drummer Paul Motian rounding out the lineup—came first, and in quick succession; the pair's lone duo date—Kids: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca- Cola (Blue Note, 2007)—came a little later. Jones passed away a few years after that third record arrived—in 2010, at the ripe young age of ninety-one— and Lovano moved on to other musical realms, seemingly closing that incredibly fruitful chapter of his artistic life. But now the story comes alive again with the release of this set that was captured live at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2005.

After recording Joyous Encounter in May of that year, Lovano toured Europe with the quartet from the album, with model-of-class drummer Lewis Nash replacing Motian. That band coalesced into a communicative marvel, a fact that's clear as day here as those four musicians put forth integration and integrity as their collective calling cards. Subtle and artful shifts from flowering ballad territory to solid state swing help to elevate Lovano's "I'm All For You"; bluesy, raucous, cool, and gritty sounds mix perfectly together to make for an easy sell of Oliver Nelson's swinging "Six And Four"; and empathy knows no bounds on the Brazilian-inflected "Don't Ever Leave Me." Oh, to have been in the audience on that summer day.

While the magic exhibited here is of a similar sort to what can be heard on the aforementioned quartet recordings, it's obviously not the same. And it should come as no surprise that the change in the drum chair is what altered the chemistry of the group. Motian was a master of percussive shading, allowing airiness into an instrumental realm that it rarely entered, and Nash typically prefers things on the taut and tidier side. The mind was pulled deep into a dream when Motian joined forces with Lovano, Jones, and Mraz, but hearing Nash with the same three is another experience entirely. He pulls the whole body of the listener into the music. If your foot isn't tapping, your body isn't moving, and your head isn't bobbing along in the affirmative during "Kids Are Pretty People," you may be suffering from some form of paralysis. Nash once released an album called Rhythm Is My Business (Evidence, 1993), and he wasn't kidding.

Bestowing an album with the "classic" designation upon its release may seem a bit presumptuous, but this appears to be one of those if-the-shoe-fits cases that says otherwise. A classic, by its own definition, is something "of the first or highest quality, class, or rank," and this surely fits the bill.

Track Listing: Big Ben; Bird's Eye View; Don't Ever Leave Me; I'm All For You; Kids Are Pretty People; Six And Four.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Hank Jones: piano; George Mraz: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Title: Classic! Live at Newport | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
One LP
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Scandal

Scandal

Greenleaf Music
2018

buy
Classic! Live at Newport

Classic! Live at...

Blue Note Records
2016

buy
Soundprints

Soundprints

Blue Note Records
2015

buy
Wild Beauty

Wild Beauty

Half Note Records
2013

buy
 

Cross Culture

Manila Jazz Festival
2013

buy
Joe Lovano - Bird Songs

Joe Lovano - Bird...

Blue Note Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Thought You Knew" CD/LP/Track Review Thought You Knew
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "Inside Turnabout" CD/LP/Track Review Inside Turnabout
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 15, 2018
Read "Ten Billion Versions of Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Ten Billion Versions of Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Anniversary Package; Lab 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Anniversary Package; Lab 2017
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 14, 2017