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Folk Strains Lovano Style,
This review is from: Folk Art (Audio CD)
Lovano's 21st Blue Note album was recorded in November 2008 shortly after forming the group US Five. The CD, also available on double vinyl with the additional track 'Jazz Free', is a spectrum of Lovano's style and output. Anyone familiar with his output will appreciate his ability to switch from bop to free jazz along with everything in between.
The personel on this disc are: Lovano(ts,as,cl,tara,aulo,pc), James Weidman(p), Esperanza Spalding(b), Otis Brown 111(d), and Francisco Mela(d,pc).
The variation in styles and tempo are linked by a series of folk forms. The opening 'Powerhouse' is driven by Lovano combining elements reminiscent of Coltrane and Coleman with reference to Parker. Immensely muscular in its intensity and phrasing alternating between vigour and melancholy. Lovano's two drums and piano format shows the strength of the drumming with the freedom of expression of Weider's piano and strong bass lines from Spalding. 'Folk Art' has Lovano switching from alto to tenor sax built on winding melodies against a firm rhythmical background.
Lovano is a master of ballads and produces 'Song For Judi' and'Wild Beauty' in a slow style that Coltrane would surely have admired. On 'Drum Song', Lovano plays a taragato, a Hungarian instrument I am not familiar with, that sounds like a clarinet in upper register with a hard reed. It is a foot-stomping number with firm forms and an overall happy sound.
'Dibango' has Lovano on his double soprano sax (aulochrome) later to be heard on his next album 'Bird Songs'. His accompaniment is piano. 'Ettenro', (Ornette in reverse), not surprisingly finds Lovano and the band playing very much in Coleman's style with controlled, seemingly improvised lines, supported by a strong Esperanzo Spalding bass solo that would not be out of place if Charlie Haden was playing it.
This is a very together band playing very contemporary music in their own distinctive way. This is a step in a new direction for Lovano. He is not one for lying down and playing in a safe, conservative way. Wonderful music.