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

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

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The successful combination of two chordal instruments—like vibes and piano—requires giant ears and mutual respect in order to avoid melodic pile-ups and harmonic collisions. On this CD, vibraphonist and composer Joe Locke and pianist Ryan Cohan provide a textbook example of how this is done. They are happily aided and abetted by bassist and co-producer David Finck and drummer Jaimeo Brown, who consistently demonstrate the same high level of musicianship. The result is a warmly recorded and completely satisfying set.

The session begins with the deep, velvety, funky pulse introduced by Finck on "Ain't No Sunshine," and continues on the type of journey that inspires hitting the "repeat" button. Certainly Lay Down My Heart is the kind of well-paced and varied experience that rolls from start to finish without a single jarring moment. The material is a thoughtfully selected mix that includes two of Locke's excellent originals (the wistful ballads "Broken Toy" and "This New October") as well as standards, old and new, from both the jazz and R&B songbooks.

Highlights are impossible to pick when each track, regardless of tempo, has such impressive groove and swing. There's also a creative new take on the 1928 warhorse "Making Whoopee," which this group transforms from a winking novelty number into a slow and greasy blues. It exemplifies the care and heart that has gone into each of the nine tunes on this CD, and which thoroughly whets the appetite for Volume 2.

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; Jaimeo Brown: drums; Ryan Cohan: piano; David Finck: bass.

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

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