All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

322

Joe Lovano: On This Day... At The Vanguard

Joshua Weiner By

Sign in to view read count
"Ah, they don't make records like this anymore," you might find yourself sighing upon first hearing On This Day At The Vanguard. But look at the liner notes: the artist is Joe Lovano, and this fantastic album was recorded live at the Village Vanguard in September of 2002.

This is the same nonet with which Lovano recorded the Grammy-winning 52nd Street Themes a few years back. While that record was a well-conceived and well-executed exploration of composer/arranger Tadd Dameron's legacy, there was something a bit restrained about it, as if the nonet were still finding its sound together. This live album is a decidedly looser, more exciting affair, delivering on the promise of the earlier record.

Right from the start of the first track, a punchy Lovano original called "At The Vanguard," it's clear that this group has found its groove. At times recalling Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band (whose excellent 1962 Vanguard album was recently rereleased by Verve), the soloists' explorations are punctuated by encouraging brass blasts from the band, beautifully maintaining the energy level as the tune rolls along. Lovely arrangements of the chestnut "Laura" (by Willie "Face" Smith) and Coltrane's "After The Rain" (by altoist Steve Slagle) allow the nonet's members to demonstrate their ability to finesse a ballad. The latter is especially wonderful, with a mysterioso intro arising straight out of the "classic quartet" playbook before the group enters to put their own stamp on the tune.

But the heart of the album is two 15-minute up-tempo tunes: an unbelievably exciting, rollicking version of Dameron's "Good Bait" which features a fabulous solo by baritonist Scott Robinson (which really gets the crowd going), among many other great ones; and the Lovano original "On This Day (Just Like Any Other)." This tune, dedicated to the late Billy Higgins, begins with a free episode for drums and two saxophones that recalls the classic Ornette Coleman group in which Higgins played, continuing with simple themes based on the syllables of the title and Higgins' name, explored freely to great effect by the group. A quartet version of "My Little Brown Book" closes the album with a late night feel, Lovano playing in his most reflective voice.

The quality of the nonet's playing rises to a consistently high level throughout the disc, but special mention must be made of Lewis Nash's impeccable drumming, especially the funky little hi-hat punctuations that continually stoke the engines of the up-tempo tunes, and John Hicks' tasteful piano comping. After listening to this record, one can't help but feel grateful for Joe Lovano's presence in modern jazz. Thanks to him, they do make records like this anymore.


Track Listing: 1. At The Vanguard 2. Focus 3. After The Rain 4. Good Bait 5. Laura 6. On This Day 7. My Little Brown Book

Personnel: Joe Lovano- Tenor Saxophone,Steve Slagle: Alto Saxophone, George Garzone: Tenor Saxophone, Ralph Lalama: Tenor Saxophone, Scott Robinson: Baritone Saxophone, Barry Ries: Trumpet,Larry Farrell: Trombone, John Hicks: Piano, Dennis Irwin: Bass, Lewis Nash: Drums

Title: On This Day... At the Vanguard | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
One LP
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Scandal

Scandal

Greenleaf Music
2018

buy
Classic! Live at Newport

Classic! Live at...

Blue Note Records
2016

buy
Soundprints

Soundprints

Blue Note Records
2015

buy
Wild Beauty

Wild Beauty

Half Note Records
2013

buy
 

Cross Culture

Manila Jazz Festival
2013

buy
Joe Lovano - Bird Songs

Joe Lovano - Bird...

Blue Note Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "Solo Contra" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Strange Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Circles
by Daniel Marx
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "Origin Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Origin Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 4, 2018
Read "Free Radicals" CD/LP/Track Review Free Radicals
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Western Edges" CD/LP/Track Review Western Edges
by John Sharpe
Published: July 2, 2017