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Jazz Articles | Blog

INTERVIEWS

Joe Locke's Love Affair with Language

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On the surface it's not so easy to spot the common thread unifying the greater fabric of Joe Locke's work. Since arriving in New York City in 1981, and emerging as a notable leader on record in the early '90s, this much-vaunted vibraphonist has developed into a protean performer and composer. Duo sessions with pianists Frank Kimbrough and Kenny Barron, a collaboration with vocalist Kenny Washington, dates co-led with pianists David Hazeltine and Geoffrey Keezer, an album with Lincoln's Symphony ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Joe Locke: Love is a Pendulum

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Since signing with Motėma Music a couple years back, vibraphonist Joe Locke has been releasing some of the best and most diverse music in a career now entering its fourth decade. From the near-fusion energy of 2012's Signing--the long overdue studio followup to the Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer group's incendiary Live in Seattle (Origin, 2006)--to the expansive beauty of his 2013 quartet collaboration with Lincoln, Nebraska's Symphony Orchestra on Wish Upon a Star and, just a few months later ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke: Love Is A Pendulum

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Since the late '80s vibraphonist Joe Locke, an artist who defies categorization, has performed and recorded with a diverse array of musicians, including Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, and The Beastie Boys. Love Is A Pendulum, his fourth release on the Harlem-based Motema label, features some of Locke's most compelling music to date, the centerpiece of which is a five movement suite based on a poem by musician and writer Barbara Sfraga. Culled from Sfraga's Subway Series, Locke explains ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol.1

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The successful combination of two chordal instruments--like vibes and piano--requires giant ears and mutual respect in order to avoid melodic pile-ups and harmonic collisions. On this CD, vibraphonist and composer Joe Locke and pianist Ryan Cohan provide a textbook example of how this is done. They are happily aided and abetted by bassist and co-producer David Finck and drummer Jaimeo Brown, who consistently demonstrate the same high level of musicianship. The result is a warmly recorded and completely satisfying set.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart - Blues & Ballads Vol 1

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In a rarefied space, Joe Locke continues to evolve, engage and impress. There simply isn't another vibraphonist of his generation with Locke's stellar chops, thorough understanding of history/tradition--not just of jazz, but of music, period--and ability to build programs based on thematic concepts that not only stand out in his gradually growing discography, but fit contextually within it to create an actual oeuvre, an ever- expanding body of work that represents an artist whose number one priority is always the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol.1

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The ever versatile vibraphonist extraordinaire Joe Locke returns to his early days of music-making, where he once felt that jazz was, is and “should always be, people music." On his third recording for the Motema label, Locke presents Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol. 1 designed as a vehicle for people everywhere who need a respite from the troubles of the world through a landscape of light blues and soft ballads. Joining the vibraphonist for this date is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads, Vol. 1

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Vibraphonist Joe Locke doesn't seem to want to put his mallets down for very long. As soon as he arrived at Motéma Music, he released the modern-leaning Signing (Motéma Music, 2012) with the Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, and partnered up with Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra for the somewhat serene Wish Upon A Star (Motéma Music, 2013). Now, less than six months after that symphony-enhanced songbook hit shelves, he delivers Lay Down My Heart, a collection of blues and ballads.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Joe Locke Quartet with Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra: Wish Upon a Star

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When Joe Locke signed with Motéma Records in 2012, the vibraphonist was finally allowed an opportunity to more freely explore a broader range of interests, bolstered by the comfort of his affiliation with a label known for its strong artist support. His first release for the label, Signing (2012), was the long overdue follow-up to The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group's tremendous debut, Live in Seattle (Origin, 2006), and despite being unjustly overlooked in some quarters was, without a ...


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