189

Joe Locke/David Hazletine Quartet: Mutual Admiration Society

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Locke/David Hazletine Quartet: Mutual Admiration Society Consummate relational jazz seems completely outdated. Groups are thrown together in studios to record music obviously calculated to sell. To guess, special-guest announcements for jazz records that include the names Wynton Marsalis or John Medeski must get cash registers to ring.

But such back-in-the-day collaborations as Duke Ellington and John Coltrane - designed to send alternative messages to the prevailing attitudes about each — even made a certain sense. Certainly the master and master pupil interchange was challenging to consider, much less coordinate. But the musical result achieved something awesome — even if the experiment had failed (it didn't). Now we get pop-singer daughters crooning with their long-dead fathers. It sells. But is the effort to overcome the ghoulishness of the enterprise worth entertaining what is little more than a technological pairing?

An antidote to this current trend is what turns out to be an inspired pairing of the exceptional vibraphonist Joe Locke with the supple, interactive piano of David Hazeltine. Two friends long on the New York scene, Locke (who has gigged with Cecil Taylor and recorded most memorably with Eddie Henderson) and Hazeltine (who has played with Louis Hayes and Slide Hampton) debut together on Mutual Admiration Society , a marvelous tour de force of relational jazz that should do much to advance the careers of both its leaders. The title, cliché though it may be, ultimately does seem appropriate to the relationship these two share, something which is evident in the deeply fascinating passages of exploration that merit - and reward — repeated listening.

It may be unfair but not necessarily inaccurate to align this partnership with the one Bobby Hutcherson and Herbie Hancock shared on several outstanding Blue Note records in the 1960s. Locke and Hazeltine do not derive their overall sound from either Hancock or Hutcherson. But, certainly, they hint at their predecessor's individuality organized into a most pleasing combination of sound and creativity, infinite in possibilities.

Such a compelling relationship is bound to brim with surprise. And this one does. The two play a modern sort of post-modal bop (if that's possible) inspired, as they note, by the early records of Dave Pike and Bobby Hutcherson. Their rapport keeps them operating as a single unit, buffered by the most gossamer support of bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Billy Drummond. Even more impressively, Locke's difficult four-mallet delivery hints at - with melodious, deceptively simple whole tones — a fifth player in the room. The effect commands a "what's that?" or "where's it coming from?" kind of attention and lurks hauntingly in memory.

The program mixes melodic originals from Locke (mostly unexceptional but for the slightly relentless "The K Crew") and Hazeltine with a ballad ("Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year) and two very odd covers (too-well-known pop fare, "I Say A Little Prayer" and "For All We Know"). It is actually the covers that stand out most. Slowed down to a low-burn, the vibraphonist and the pianist cook all the corn out and reveal something startlingly fragile and emotionally considered here ("Prayer" in particular is a beauty). Even Hazeltine's lightly funky "Can We Talk?" - another of the set's highlights — never gets above medium tempo. But the tunes are only exquisitely conceived set pieces for the connective musical dialogues of Locke and Hazeltine.

Mutual Admiration Society reminds what a true jazz collaboration can achieve. It is an interactive pleasure that ranks as one of the year's finest, most elegant jazz statements.


Track Listing: K-Man's Crew; I Say A Little Prayer; Can We Talk?; The Haze Factor; Tears In Her Heart; Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year; Diamonds Remain; For All We Know.

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

Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ahmad Jamal Ahmad Jamal
piano
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Bobby Hutcherson Bobby Hutcherson
vibraphone
Mike Mainieri Mike Mainieri
vibraphone
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Milt Jackson Milt Jackson
vibraphone
Ralph Towner Ralph Towner
guitar
Astor Piazzolla Astor Piazzolla
bandoneon
Stefon Harris Stefon Harris
vibraphone
Teddy Charles Teddy Charles
vibraphone
Steve Nelson Steve Nelson
vibraphone

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Star-Spangled Voltage" CD/LP/Track Review Star-Spangled Voltage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "In Case Of Fire" CD/LP/Track Review In Case Of Fire
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 17, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "WAHOO!" CD/LP/Track Review WAHOO!
by Greg Simmons
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!