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Joe Locke: Chemistry and Camaraderie

Seton Hawkins By

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AAJ: That's an interesting challenge: to play straight through the two verses with very subtle timbral changes. Did you feel any difficulties in doing that?

JL: It's intriguing when you do instrumental covers of vocal works. You're always trying to tell the story, but with instrumental takes you don't necessarily need the second verse. Nevertheless, there are little differences between the two verses that we thought would be nice to honor, because they were important musically.

I didn't think of it until just now, but what I find interesting about the Coltrane and Heap tunes back-to-back, is that the jazz piece is completely deconstructed, while the pop tune is a literal transcription. I think most musicians would have flipped it, but perhaps it just goes to show that there are a million ways to approach music.

AAJ: More generally, a number of moments on the album feature a dark, heavy sound in the rhythm section, more like a drum-and-bass album. It's unusual for a jazz album; how did it come about?

JL: The biggest difference is the drum sound. Terreon has a really unique drum identity, particularly in live performance, and we wanted to capture that on this recording. So, on the album—in particular on "Signing" and "Darth Alexis"—the drums are much more up front in the mix than you'd normally hear on a jazz recording. It was important to us, given the mission of the recording, to really pull the drums and the bass up in the mix so that you could feel the music, and so that these two voices wouldn't be muted in the recording.

AAJ: What else have you got coming up for Motéma?

JL: I'm doing a ballads and blues album. It will be a departure from this album, but will still reflect a big part of who I am as a musician, and I'm looking forward to it. The album will be slow, languid ballads, combined with blues, maybe not always "blues- in-form," but at least "blues-informed." I've wanted to do this type of album for a while, something that's for couples to enjoy, or something you can put on for some solace after a long day. With Motéma, I have the ability to do this, and I hope to continue the relationship for a long time. Jana Herzen is serious about what she does, and is an artist in her own right. But I think it's a great connection, and I think Signing really demonstrates that.

Selected Discography

The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group, Signing (Motéma Music, 2012)

Storms/Nocturnes, VIA (Origin, 2011)

Joe Locke, For the Love of You (E1, 2010)

Joe Locke, Force of Four (Origin, 2008)

Joe Locke,
Sticks and Strings (Music Eyes, 2007)

The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group, Live in Seattle (Origin, 2006)
Joe Locke/Christos Rafalidfes, Van Gogh by Numbers (Wire Walker, 2006)
Joe Locke, Rev- elation (Sharp Nine, 2005)

Joe Locke / 4 Walls of Freedom, Dear Life (Sirocco, 2004)

Photo Credits

Page 1: Eric Richmond

Page 2 (The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group): Marie Le Claire

Page 3: R. Andrew Lepley

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