All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Joe Lovano: Folk Art


Sign in to view read count
Some jazz artists enter a period in their careers where they've said all they have to say yet carry on, eking out a living, resting on laurels and simply playing out the string. Not saxophonist Joe Lovano. Folk Art is his 22nd recording for Blue Note alone, a run that has been marked by artistic consistency and tasteful excellence. This collection, however, is arguably the freshest and richest inside/out session he's delivered in his admirable career, certainly since Trio Fascination (with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones) over a decade ago.

One way (relatively) elder statesmen keep things interesting is by hiring young, searching musicians to help plot the course taken within new compositions; Lovano has rounded out Us Five with newcomers Esperanza Spalding on bass and both Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela on drums and exotic ethnic percussion. Only pianist James Weidman (Cassandra Wilson and Steve Coleman) can be considered Lovano's contemporary. Together the group lends flexible, unpredictable support to a rambunctious Lovano who, in addition to his trusty tenor, prominently features straight alto, tarogato (a Hungarian half clarinet/half soprano sax), alto clarinet and aulochrome (a double soprano sax with keyboard pads down the middle). He also bangs a gong here and there.

The title track is the album's centerpiece, a composition that comes at you in sections while retaining the integrity of the whole. Lovano states the theme on the straight alto, generating an urgently gripping human tone as the matchups shift from the full quintet to the two drummers and back to the quintet. When Lovano changes to tenor the piece swings its way to an open-ended conclusion. Surrounding this masterful performance are a pair of wonderful ballads, some African folk forms and "Ettenro" ("Ornette") that present a band right at home expressing themselves with dynamism, interweaving their individual voices in completely attuned harmony and marking time like buoys bobbing in the sea.

Track Listing: Powerhouse; Folk Art; Wild Beauty; Us Five; Song For Judi; Drum Song; Dibango; Page 4; Ettenro.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone, straight alto saxophone, taragato, alto clarinet, aulochrome, gongs; James Weidman: piano; Esperanza Spalding: bass; Otis Brown III: drums, ankle bells, ascending opera gong, descending opera gong; Francisco Mela: drums, pandero, dumbek, Ethiopian drums, ankle bells.

Title: Folk Art | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Synesthesia" CD/LP/Track Review Synesthesia
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Thought You Knew" CD/LP/Track Review Thought You Knew
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "The Better Angels of Our Nature" CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Secret Language" CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "The Great Nostalgist" CD/LP/Track Review The Great Nostalgist
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 29, 2017