393

Joe Locke / David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society 2

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Locke / David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society 2 In the last year of the twentieth century, Sharp Nine Records released Mutual Admiration Society, a quartet date co-led by vibraphonist Joe Locke and pianist David Hazeltine, which also included bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Billy Drummond. A brainchild of Sharp Nine honcho Marc Edelman, the collaboration between these two longtime friends was based on a desire to explore each other's strengths. Hazeltine was keen on interacting with the blues-oriented, earthy side of Locke's playing, as well as experiencing the vibraphonist's harmonically adventurous compositions. Locke welcomed the opportunity to interpret Hazeltine's arrangements and play off of the pianist's swinging, individualistic style. A few of the record's highlights included a deliberately paced, dreamlike version of the 1960s pop hit, "I Say a Little Prayer," Hazeltine's "Can We Talk?," which moved between funk and straightforward swing, and Locke's intriguing reharmonization of the standard "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year."

Locke and Hazeltine played a six night engagement at New York City's Sweet Basil in support of the record and then went their separate ways. Early this year, Edelman brought the quartet back into the studio and once again the co-leaders contribute the bulk of the material. The ringing chords which underlie the melody of Locke's "Pharoah Joy" resemble a revved up version of the foundation of Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan." Dedicated to the late drummer Tony Reedus, Hazeltine's "One For Reedy Ree" entails a throbbing, repetitive introduction followed by an angular melody with a few twists and turns. Based on Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," Locke's "What's Not To Love?" begins with a haunting figure, voiced at the low end of vibes and piano, that reappears in the midst of this bright, optimistic tune. Employing a Latin rhythm and pockets of straight-ahead swing, Hazeltine's "Blues For Buddy" is an up-tempo romp that breathlessly jams a handful of melodies into twenty-four bars.

It's hard to imagine a bassist and drummer better suited to complement Locke and Hazeltine. Essiet and Drummond have so much to contribute, and the bulk of what they play doesn't sound overly assertive or particularly busy. They demonstrate many ways to swing, often subtly tightening or loosening the pressure behind the soloist during the course of a single chorus.

Locke and Hazeltine are expansive, stimulating improvisers who stay in touch with everything going on around them. In the final analysis, however, it's the group's sound that makes the record special. Even on up-tempo tracks like "Convocation" and "Blues For Buddy," there's warmth and a centered vibe to the music. It's a pleasure to hear how they support one another (Hazeltine's comping behind Locke, for example, is marvelous), and always find common ground regardless of the feel or tempo of the material.

Mutual Admiration Society 2 is a significant contribution to the jazz mainstream. Here's hoping another ten years don't have to go by for the next installment.



Visit Joe Locke and David Hazeltine on the web.


Track Listing: Pharoah Joy; The Peacocks; One For Reedy Ree; Twelve; What's Not To Love?; Convocation; If It's Magic; Blues For Buddy.

Personnel: Joe Locke: vibes; David Hazeltine: piano; Essiet Essiet: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

Title: Mutual Admiration Society 2 | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Translator's Note CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Then and Now CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Gol CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Duo (DCWM) 2013 CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Spacebound Apes" CD/LP/Track Review Spacebound Apes
by Phil Barnes
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.