Ever since I bought Lovano`s wonderful Rush Hour some years ago I`ve wanted more of this open-hearted, broad-toned sax player. At last, here he is in a very different, starker setting, less lush but with no less lyricism, accompanied by a stunning line-up of pianist Michael Petrucciani (1962-99), respected British bassist Dave Holland (b. 1946) and distinctive New Orleans drummer Ed Blackwell (1929-92). It`s a winning combination, with Petrucciani as fresh as ever, with a touch all his own. Blackwell was a drummer who always liked to leave plenty of space between the lines, so to speak, while Holland`s musicianship has never been better displayed. The nine-minute opener Evolution, composed by Lovano, is a glorious number, while the eight-minute Portrait of Jenny is a lyrical ballad which is both exploratory and beautifully argued by all concerned, both together and in their solos. At over an hour this is not only excellent value for money, but allows the grateful listener to explore along with this clearly recorded quartet the highways and byways of their well-chosen set of tunes. Joe Lovano is now an established name, at least among lovers of jazz, and rightly so. He brings a refreshingly lucid sensibility to jazz in the late 20th/early 21st centuries, with a style that honours those who`ve gone before - Coltrane, Rollins et al - and brings something new to the table too. His band on this 1991 date is impeccable, all sounding like they were not only enjoying playing these notes but also all the notes in between! Body and Soul is one of those numbers that will always be resurrected, deservedly so. Joe, Michael, Ed and Dave play it with a relaxed, almost joyful aplomb, as they do all the tracks on this delicious album. Modern Man is a jerky, percussive piece by Lovano which gives Blackwell a typically minimalist solo - Ed loved to play crisply, hitting his kit without fuss, the antithesis of the gregarious Elvin Jones, say. Fort Worth, another original by the leader, has a deep and ominous solo from Holland early on. Good to hear the rare Monk tune Work, as well as Trane`s Central Park West. Good to hear them all, really. Hugely & happily recommended.
Joe Lovano's work with Woody Herman and continuing especially with Paul Motian and Bill Frisell have enabled Lovano to produce his individualistic saxophone voice. His approach to these numbers hint at Ornette Coleman, Coltrane, Rollins, but his freshness is his own. He is at the forefront of contempory saxophonists with David Murray and Scott Hamilton. Everpresent and recording. This record cries out for numerous listenings, not that is difficult. The diversity and beauty of Lovano's interpretations of Monk's 'Work'(soprano) and Coltrane's 'Central Park West' (on alto) are taken in his domineering stride. 'Body and Soul' is forever associated with the great Coleman Hawkins, but Lovano's version of this tenor classic takes the number into his own unchartered waters (David Murray did his own brilliant interpretation also) as copying is pointless. Lovano's own compositions 'Evolution', Modern Man', 'Lines and Spaces', 'His Dreams' are full of robust controlled energy. Hints at Joe Henderson. This is a special record. It is not just Lovano. Ed Blackwell's drumming provides the backdrop to Dave Holland's wonderful bass (especially on 'Portrait Of Jenny'). Michel Petrucciani's presence is to the fore as soloist and in accompanist role. Absolutely matchless ('Left Behind' is exemplary). This is truly magnificent. If anyone questions where saxophone, jazz legacy, has been this is as good a place to start as any. Fabulous. Much more to come!
I have owned a copy of this first rate CD for years and still enjoy listening to it very much. It is a CD to listen to; it isn't "dinner jazz" yet is quite approachable music. Recorded in 1991 this is quite modern music mostly new original compositions, but the old war horse "Body and Soul" features along with a Monk composition.
Joe himself is an accomplished tenor saxophonist, although he plays alto and soprano too. In tone he is a cross between Rollins and Getz, perhaps with some Ben Webster for good measure. It is a pretty distinctive tone and style.
The "supporting trio" are totally integrated into the music as one would expect from such august company: the Frenchman Michel Petrucciani himself a legend in his own right, star ex-brit Dave Holland and ex- Ornette Coleman sideman Ed Blackwell on drums. A veritable galaxy of modern jazz maestros in the same place!
The music has a unique, distinctive quality. Other reviewers have highlighted their personal favourite tracks. Mine is the saxophone / drum duet "Modern Man". However every track has its own merits. This genuinely is a five star recording.
The multi-instrumentalist Joe Lovano(b. 1952) is in superb form on this BLUE NOTE album recorded in New York City on December 28, 1991. With Lovano(tenor, alto & soprano saxophones) were a stellar rhythm section of Michel Petrucciani(piano); Dave Holland(bass) & Ed Blackwell(drums). The ten varied and enjoyable tracks include five Lovano originals, one each from John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Judi Silverman plus two standards. Highlights are a stunning version of 'Body and Soul', Lovano's alto playing on Coltrane's 'Central Park West' and the pianoless trio on 'Fort Worth'. All in all, the 64-minute 'From The Soul' is an ideal introduction to Joe Lovano and deserves a place in any modern jazz collection.
i'm a huge fan of michel petrucciani and it's a treat to hear him in the context of other people's music, especially on tunes that are quite free and outside his comfort zone. the rhythm section is fantastic on this record, as is joe lovano, and my favourite tune is 'work' by thelonious monk which has an amazing piano solo. i don't see this album around very much in shops or on the internet. my recommendation: buy it!