While Joe Lovano's first Trio Fascination disc explored the spectrum of musical possibilities within a fixed unit, Edition Two goes exactly the opposite way. With four different trios (and playing seven different instruments), Lovano offers varietyand more to spare.
On Flights of Fancy, his second celebration of the trio, Lovano plays roles both as melodic leader and as rhythmic stylist. While it's impossible to pin him down, the real high notes of the disc are his intermittent tenor playing in the conventional lineup of sax/bass/drums. (Perhaps this reflects his familiarity with the context.) On three other tracks, Joey Baron's eccentric drumming throws Lovano many a curve ball, which he's of course eager to hit. Unfortunately, Toots Thielemans mostly poisons four tracks with his totally straightforward approach and unrelenting melodicism. (Lovano's tonal and creative range far exceeds T.T.'s, and it's painfully obvious.) When Lovano sits down at the drums on "206," as he's done on occasion in the past, he achieves an interesting pulsing color-dynamism rather than going after polyrhythm. It's a curious aside, revealing in moderation, but best contained.
The obvious comparisons for Flights of Fancy lie with Lovano's previous trio record. On Trio Fascination, the focus lay more in adapting tone and melody to different tunes. Elvin Jones presented a fresh contrast to Lovano's usual drum partners, and he almost stole the show. But Flights of Fancy doesn't allow any player (including Lovano) to dominate; the landscape and textures are so constantly in flux. This bold effort represents a welcome degree of maturity on Lovano's behalf. He doesn't crave the spotlightby recruiting such a wide range of partners (and many "stars"), he draws more attention to his surroundings than himself. But it's Lovano, of course, who's the glue that keeps Flights of Fancy together.
Track Listing: Flights of Fancy; On April (I'll Remember April); Amsterdam; Blue Must; Off and Runnin'; Infant Eyes; 206; Bougainvillea; Windom Street; Hot Shot; Aisha; Amber; On Giant Steps; Flights of Fancy.
Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor, alto, C-melody, and soprano saxophones; alto and basss clarinet; drums, gongs. Cameron Brown: bass; Idris Muhammad: drums. Toots Thielemans: harmonica; Kenny Werner: piano. Dave Douglas: trumpet; Mark Dresser: bass. Billy Drewes: soprano saxophone, percussion; Joey Baron: drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.