During the '90s, both Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer saw their careers take off with a flurry of compelling CDs as individual leaders. Recently, they joined forces to co-lead the New Sound Quartet, recording for the Japanese label Eighty-Eights.
Summertime begins quietly with a shimmering duo arrangement of the famous movement from Rodrigo's "Concierto De Aranjuez . George Gershwin's "Summertime is revamped into a furious post-bop vehicle with a dark edge and furious percussion, with Locke switching to marimba for his solo. The quartet's interpretation of "'Round Midnight also proves to be refreshing, with Keezer's jagged piano lines and Locke's spacey vibes.
Keezer's composition "Captain Jon is instantly infectious with a brisk samba undercurrent while another original, "Port Alexander Moon , is a dramatic waltz, featuring Eddie Henderson's lyrical muted trumpet and Robert Hurst's effective bass.
Locke also contributed a pair of originals. He begins his wistful "Snowing in Central Park on vibes, briefly showcasing Henderson's flugelhorn, then moves to marimba for his solo. In contrast is his thunderous "Last Ditch Wisdom , which is full of hairpin turns and fine drumming by Billy Kilson.
Summer Knows is an equally valuable CD. One of the greatest challenges jazz musicians face is finding new approaches to standards. The dreamy vamp used to introduce "All the Things You Are will likely turn some heads, along with its subdued but tense arrangement. Bassist Ed Howard sets up the waltz treatment of "Come Rain Or Come Shine , as Keezer plays sporadic accompaniment for Locke's solo. Keezer's unusual voicings in "Bye Bye Blackbird help distinguish it from the Miles version. It's hard to top the dreamy duo interpretation of Michel Legrand's reflective ballad "Summer Knows . There are two originals as well. Keezer's "Tulipia has a catchy hiphop rhythmic swagger, while Locke's "The King (For T. M.) is a furious post-bop workout with a vamp that instantly hooks the listener.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Concierto De Aranjuez; Captain Jon; Snowfall in Central Park; Summertime; Blame It On My Youth; 'Round Midnight; Port Alexander Moon; Last Ditch Wisdom; Bibo No Aozora.
Personnel: Joe Locke: vibes, marimba; Geoffrey Keezer: piano; Robert Hurst: bass; Billy Kilson: drums; Eddie Henerson: flugelhorn, trumpet.
Tracks: Tulipa; Emily; All the Things You Are; Dear Old Stockholm; Ray Brown Suite, Movement 1; The King (for T.M.); Come Rain Or Come Shine; Bye Bye Blackbird; Summer Knows.
Personnel: Joe Locke: vibes; Geoffrey Keezer: piano; Ed Howard, bass; Terreon Gully: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.