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Joe Locke

Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument. He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln, Nebraska Symphony.

Long known to be a soloist capable of stunning physical power and broad emotional range, it was not until the last decade that he emerged as the composer, bandleader and conceptualist that he is considered today. This is in no small part due to his solo projects of the last decade. “Four Walls of Freedom” (Sirocco), a 6 movement suite based on the writing of the monk Thomas Merton, which he composed as a vehicle for tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, garnered high praise from the critical community as a major work and won several international polls. “Live in Seattle” (Origin), by The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group, won the 2006 EarShot award for “Concert of the Year”. This group is well loved and emulated by younger musicians looking for direction and inspiration. The overwhelming success of his recent quartet, “Force of Four” (Origin), can be attributed to the talents of his young cohorts and to the leader’s musical philosophy, which is to honor tradition while keeping both feet planted in the present and future. His 2011 album, the captivating, immersive album “VIA”, is the result of a reunion of Storms/Nocturnes, the transatlantic trio with Geoffrey Keezer and Tim Garland.

In 2011 Joe joined the Motéma label for four intrinsically different albums bearing witness of his immense stylistic versatility and ability to create artistic depth in a variety of contexts:

After Signing, the long-awaited follow-up studio album of Live In Seattle, 2012 also saw the release of Joe Locke’s first ever symphonic project, Wish Upon A Star, featuring Locke‘s Quartet with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra (NE), and the Jazz radio charts #1 Blues & Ballads album Lay Down My Heart in 2013. In 2015 Locke released Love Is A Pendulum – a suite based on a poem by Barbara Sfraga – is already being hailed the most important work of his career.

Locke’s latest album, Subtle Disguise (Origin Records, 2018) represents “the total expression of who I am as a musician and human being.” and features Jim Ridl, Lorin Cohen and Samvel Sarkisyan as part of the core quartet, plus guests Raul Midón, David Binney, Adam Rogers and Alina Engibaryan.

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“In the select group of contemporary vibes players, Locke has claims to head the list.” — Penguin Encyclopedia of Jazz

“Joe Locke’s playing and writing have been an absolute joy to this vibist’s ears that have been starving to hear a player who challenges himself on every tune. Joe is constantly pushing the envelope musically. The cat is going into orbit soon …. I love it!” — Mike Mainieri

“Locke has secured a spot among the world’s top jazz vibists – and one of the most popular. Without sacrificing his jazz integrity or intent, Locke still manages to engage even casual listeners with a mixture of edgy attitude and artistic purity.” — Neil Tesser, Chicago Examiner

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Primary Instrument



New York City


Hon ARAM & International Vibraphone Consultant (visiting) at the Royal Academy of Music, London Further teaching engagements at University of Utah, SLC (USA) The Royal Conservatoire, Birmingham (UK) The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (UK) The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow (UK) Prins Claus Conservatoire, Groningen (NL) and more...

Clinic/Workshop Information

Classes in jazz improvisation, arranging, composition, ensemble playing, etc Masterclass "The Spirituality of Imperfection", which resonates with students and teachers alike This masterclass discusses how our shortcomings and weaknesses are as important to our creative development as our accomplishments

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Dan McCarthy
Eric Zabala
Lucas Amorim


Concert Schedule

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Circle 9 Records



Ovation Records



Luba Mason Productions


Subtle Disguise

Origin Records


Dark Blue

Smoke Sessions Records


Willow Weep for Me

From: Love's Got Me in a Lazy Mood
By Joe Locke

Red Cloud

From: Subtle Disguise
By Joe Locke

Point of View Redux

From: Breakthrough
By Joe Locke

The Lost Lenore

From: Signing
By Joe Locke

Her Sanctuary

From: VIA
By Joe Locke

Verrazano Moon

From: For the Love of You
By Joe Locke

Alpha Punk

From: Force of Four
By Joe Locke

Sword of Whispers

From: Sticks and Strings
By Joe Locke

Van Gogh By Numbers

From: Live In Seattle
By Joe Locke

Big Town

From: Rev-elation
By Joe Locke



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