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Force of Four

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £17.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£17.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Origin Records
  • ASIN: B001CDL8IM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 585,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Certain sounds are so easy to love: the blurry whine of a muted trumpet, the beefy growl of a robust tenor saxophone, the rich, frictional cry of the cello, and the buoyant, sustained ring of a mallet hitting a key on a vibraphone.

Vibraphonist Joe Locke's profile seems to have risen on a sharp angle since Live in Seattle (Origin Records, 2006), a CD that found its way onto several critic's top ten of the year lists. Since then he has offered up Live at JazzBaltica (MaxJazz, 2006) and Sticks and Strings (Music Eyes, 2007), proving that his excellence was no one-off affair.

Force of Four finds Locke in the company of a crack quartet--his vibraphone and a piano trio--offering up perhaps his finest recording to date. And though the instrumental make-up is the same as that of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), Locke and company are more about energy and forward momentum and grooves than they are about a chamber atmosphere.

"Like Joe" is a bouncy tribute to tenor titan Joe Henderson that features seamless piano/vibes interplay. It's easy to think that the two instruments could bump heads and step on each other's toes, but that's never the case on this disc. "Ruminations" has a pensive atmosphere and drifting quality, and a sublime quartet weave of sound.

"No Moe," from the pen of Sonny Rollins, is tight groove that brings in one of the album's two guests, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, playing a beautiful muted horn. "Alpha Punk" and "Blue November" feature tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery--the former an energetic romp that brings the Yellowjackets sound to mind, the latter a relaxed dark-toned piece of introspective beauty.

Joe Locke might just be this generation's Milt Jackson. And with Force of Four he might be headed to the year's top ten lists again.
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Format: Audio CD
I discovered Joe Locke and his music only recently. I was in Perugia, Italy, during the Umbria Jazz Festival and I was taken by friends to this night concert starting at midnight. The venue was already impressive: a hall inside a Renaissance fortress.
Since the beginning I was taken by Joe Locke and his music. Great solid fine jazz like one can never have enough. There was that night a NYC flavor in the air, the great spirit of jazz, all the great musician, dead or alive. And as a matter of fact I discovered that in the room half of the people were other musicians playing at the festival that Joe Locke eventually called on stage for a jam session.
This is my first Joe Locke CD and it's magnificent. It has nothing less than the live music (to me normally live music sounds better than studio recordings).
A great CD that you absolutely need to have if you like jazz. I would recommend to everybody to try and listen, unless you know you have a chronic jazz-dislike.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By By John Kelman (for allaboutjazz.com) 17 Sept. 2008
By Nadja von Massow - Published on Amazon.com
Joe Locke couldn't have picked a better name for Force of Four. While not as overtly plugged in as the potent, near fusion-esque Live in Seattle (Origin, 2006) with his Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, it's an equally electrifying date that revisits the same format--vibes, piano, bass and drums--but with an all-new line-up.

It's taken time for critics and fans to catch up, but with Down Beat's Talent Deserving Wider Recognition nod, the Jazz Journalists Association's Mallet Player of the Year award, and an increasingly busy tour schedule, the elusive spotlight has finally found him. Force of Four embodies everything that Locke is about--an undeniable reverence for tradition while, at the same time, ears wide open to what's going on around him and an ever-watchful eye for ways to move the music forward.

Locke's arrangement of "No Moe" twists Sonny Rollins' familiar bebop theme on its side by layering it over a spacious yet funky rhythm that gives it a modernistic makeover. A swinging middle section--where Locke's inestimable chops blend seamlessly with his characteristically focused approach--is but one of Force of Four's many lessons in the construction of meaningful narrative, with pianist Robert Rodriguez and guest trumpeter Thomas Marriott echoing Locke's nimble but ever-melodic approach. Bassist Ricardo Rodriguez and drummer Johnathan Blake create the kind of unshakable yet fluid groove that allows the music to navigate unexpected territory even as it adheres to defined form.

Locke's quartet is both powerful and flexible enough to wind its way through three tunes by Locke, one each by the Rodriguez's and "Laura"--another decades-old tune to receive a rhythmic and harmonic update while still retaining the core lyricism that's made this Johnny Mercer/David Raksin collaboration such an often-covered classic. "Blue November" is a deceptively light but visceral tune by mallet player Christos Rafalides--with whom Locke collaborated on the underappreciated Van Gogh by Numbers (Wire Walker, 2006)--one of two pieces to feature saxophonist Wayne Escoffery and one of three where Robert Rodriguez switches to electric piano.

He may not be prolific, but Locke is as thoughtful and compelling with a pen as he is a set of mallets. The up-tempo, odd-metered "Alpha Punk" uses a serpentine melody over a descending series of chords to set up lengthy, energetic solos from Escoffery and Locke, while the shifting landscapes of "Ruminations" and the more pensive, rubato "Available in Blue" focus on the vibraphonist's deep appreciation for the clean line and spiritually resonant.

Since his 4 Walls of Freedom group and Dear Life (Sirocco, 2004), Locke has demonstrated remarkable instinct for recruiting the ideal line-up for every project. As with Terreon Gully in the Locke/Keezer Group, Blake is the perfect choice here, capable of pure color and emphatic pulse. But he's only one of four stars who make Force of Four another winner in a string of albums by the consistently inventive and evocative Locke.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibes treasure 1 Mar. 2013
By DK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Along with Stefon Harris, Locke is the best of the relatively small number of current vibes players. This is a good but not great group, as measured by spontaneous interaction, thought they are tight and on top of the material. The drawback to this collection for me, is the material. Locke is a much better player than composer.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Be Seen Live to Appreciate 23 Nov. 2008
By Thomas E. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'll echo Nadja's five stars and only add that Joe Locke needs to be seen live to be really appreciated.
4.0 out of 5 stars Yummy 2 Jun. 2015
By Matthew Guilette - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Good mixes of tonalities and dynamics.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 24 Oct. 2014
By Newkophile - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As described.
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