430

Joe Locke: Force of Four

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Locke: Force of Four
Certain sounds are so easy to love: the blurry whine of a muted trumpet, the beefy growl of a robust tenor saxophone, the rich, frictional cry of the cello, and the buoyant, sustained ring of a mallet hitting a key on a vibraphone.

Vibraphonist Joe Locke's profile seems to have risen on a sharp angle since Live in Seattle (Origin Records, 2006), a CD that found its way onto several critic's top ten of the year lists. Since then he has offered up Live at JazzBaltica (MaxJazz, 2006) and Sticks and Strings (Music Eyes, 2007), proving that his excellence was no one-off affair.

Force of Four finds Locke in the company of a crack quartet—his vibraphone and a piano trio—offering up perhaps his finest recording to date. And though the instrumental make-up is the same as that of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), Locke and company are more about energy and forward momentum and grooves than they are about a chamber atmosphere.

"Like Joe" is a bouncy tribute to tenor titan Joe Henderson that features seamless piano/vibes interplay. It's easy to think that the two instruments could bump heads and step on each other's toes, but that's never the case on this disc. "Ruminations" has a pensive atmosphere and drifting quality, and a sublime quartet weave of sound.

"No Moe," from the pen of Sonny Rollins, is tight groove that brings in one of the album's two guests, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, playing a beautiful muted horn. "Alpha Punk" and "Blue November" feature tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery—the former an energetic romp that brings the Yellowjackets sound to mind, the latter a relaxed dark-toned piece of introspective beauty.

Joe Locke might just be this generation's Milt Jackson. And with Force of Four he might be headed to the year's top ten lists again.

Track Listing

Like Joe; Ruminations; Ricky's Tune; No Moe; Available in Blue; Alpha Punk; Laura; Blue November.

Personnel

Joe Locke: vibes; Robert Rodriguez: piano; Johnathan Blake: drums; Ricardo Rodriguez: bass; Wayne Escoffery: tenor sax (6, 8); Thomas Marriott: trumpet (4).

Album information

Title: Force of Four | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Origin Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Ein.
Suomi Morishita
The Elements
Madre Vaca
Winter Garden
Flow Trio with Joe McPhee
Pachamama
Phisqa
Elsewhere
Keisuke Kishi
Old Souls
The KUH Trio
Other Worlds
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Soundprints

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.