Israeli-born, Berlin-based pianist and composer Eyal Lovett has played the part of the consummate student up to this point. Lovett has studied with some of jazz's greatest luminaries like Hal Galper
, Sam Yahel
, George Cables
, Ari Hoenig
, and Jane Ira Bloom
to name a few. As a performer he has shared the stage with the likes of Peter Bernstein
, Kenneth Dahl Knudsen
, Michal Cohen, Anat Cohen
and many more. While playing sideman and student under great names is a right of passage in the world of jazz, eventually the artist must venture off by him/herself in order to share his/her unique voice.
Lovett's felicitous debut album, Let Go
(Self Produced, 2013), is a good example of veering off to share your voice. Joining Lovett on his first offering as a leader are bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, drummer Aidan Lowe, along with guitarist Ramiro Olaciregui
and saxophonist Malte Schiller
who appear on "Giant Steps" and "Kulam Yod'im" respectively.
From the get go, Lovett showcases his delicate touch on the piano with "It's Snowing Again," a tenderly heart-aching song that features pianist' ability for story telling. While Lovett is able to display his sensitivity to creating solos with an arc, the pianist also reminds listeners that music isn't a monologue through his apt comping under Knudsen's bass solo.
While a majority of Let Go
's tone highlights Lovett's gift for writing tender melodies ("2 AM" and "Let Go"), pieces like "Florentin" and "Lama Lo" emphasizes the pianist's knack to spice things up. In "Lama Lo" (Hebrew for "why not") Lovett shares his rhythmic, compositional, and harmonic prowess by navigating through its 11/8 meter while maintaining a swing that harkens to Wynton Kelly
. Knudsen, who is also featured in "Lama Lo," shows that he too can negotiate Lovett's tricky compositions. Let Go
doesn't just underline the composer's ability to write a song, it also acts as a platform for Lovett to show off his cleverness for arranging . From the moment "Giant Steps" starts, it is evident that Lovett isn't just going to provide listeners with a hackneyed flaunt of endless 16th notes through Coltrane changes. Instead of the usual 400 bpm-off-to-the-races type "Giant Steps" that listeners have been accustomed to, the arranger shows off his acute talent to keep his audience interested by re-harmonizing one jazz's iconic solo changes.
The charm of Lovett's debut album can be found in the name. Let Go
isn't just about producing a modern jazz album with non-functional harmonies, poly-rhythms, odd meters and virtuoso performances, this record acts as a mirror that reflects Lovett's voice as an arranger, composer, and pianist. A voice that sounds quite mature for a debut record.