All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

2

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads, Vol. 1

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Vibraphonist Joe Locke doesn't seem to want to put his mallets down for very long. As soon as he arrived at Motéma Music, he released the modern-leaning Signing (Motéma Music, 2012) with the Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, and partnered up with Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra for the somewhat serene Wish Upon A Star (Motéma Music, 2013). Now, less than six months after that symphony-enhanced songbook hit shelves, he delivers Lay Down My Heart, a collection of blues and ballads.

The idea of such an expansive musical personality boxing himself into such narrow territory may make this project seem mundane in theory, but the music is anything but.

He doesn't simply deliver a set of old hat blues tunes and done-to-death ballads done up in their standard form. Locke creates a program that captures the spirit and meaning of the blues without pandering to the simplest definition of said format, and his intimacy and directness always win over in the softest of settings.

Locke has always had a way of mining every piece of musical land space for everything it's worth, and he does it again here. He retains the funky essence that lives within Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" without aping the original, marries the quirky with the ebullient on Sam Jones' "Bitterwseet," and strikes a chord that's melancholy and hopeful all at once on the Bonnie Raitt-associated "I Can't Make You Love Me." Other notable performances include a take on "The Meaning Of The Blues" that's far more haunting than the norm and a buoyant-and-lively trip through Frank Foster's "Simone."

The majority of the program is built around refashioned tunes from various corners of the jazz world and beyond, but Locke contributes two originals that fit comfortably into this format: "Broken Toy" is a wistful number that serves as a breather between a pair of groove-settled tracks ("Ain't No Sunshine" and "Bittersweet"), and "This New October" gives the leader a chance to set the stage all by his lonesome.

Locke often works in quartet settings, but few of his bands are as forthright and purely purposeful as this one. Bassist David Finck, a long time friend of Locke's, and two of the vibraphonist's label mates—pianist Ryan Cohan and drummer Jaimeo Brown—come together in service of the songs and the general spirit of the project. In penning his own brief liner essay, Locke notes that "There is no highbrow concept here, just some songs pulled from a deep well, which will hopefully serve to feed the soul." Nobody could say it—or play it—any better than that.

Track Listing: Ain't No Sunshine; Broken Toy; Bittersweet; I Can't Make You Love Me; The Meaning Of The Blues; Simone; This New October; Makin' WHoopee; Dedicated To You.

Personnel: Joe Locke: vibraphone; Ryan Cohan: piano; Jaimeo Brown: drums; David Finck: bass.

Title: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Motema Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Broken Toy

Broken Toy

Joe Locke
Lay Down Your Heart - Blues &...

Available in Blue

Available in Blue

Joe Locke
WIsh Upon a Star

The Lost Lenore

The Lost Lenore

Joe Locke
Signing

Her Sanctuary

Her Sanctuary

Joe Locke
VIA

Verrazano Moon

Verrazano Moon

Joe Locke
For the Love of You

Alpha Punk

Alpha Punk

Joe Locke
Force of Four

Sword of Whispers

Sword of Whispers

Joe Locke
Sticks and Strings

Van Gogh By Numbers

Van Gogh By Numbers

Joe Locke
Live In Seattle

Big Town

Big Town

Joe Locke
Rev-elation

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Mission Cimbalom" CD/LP/Track Review Mission Cimbalom
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Midnight Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Midnight Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 8, 2017
Read "The Tronosonic Experience" CD/LP/Track Review The Tronosonic Experience
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "On The Brink Of A Lovely Song" CD/LP/Track Review On The Brink Of A Lovely Song
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Anti-Hero" CD/LP/Track Review Anti-Hero
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "A Sky You Could Strike a Match On" CD/LP/Track Review A Sky You Could Strike a Match On
by Patrick Burnette
Published: January 15, 2018