Joe Lovano, Garden of Expression Review
Joe Lovano is a Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger with a vast catalog, including albums on the respected Blue Note and ECM labels. His recordings feature him as a leader, and he has appeared on dozens of other recordings as a sideman. Lovano has collaborated with many legendary musicians, including McCoy Tyner, Hank Jones, Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Branford Marsalis, Jim Hall, and Paul Motian. He is a faculty member in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Lovano attended Berklee in the early 1970s and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the college in 1998. In 2001, he began a prestigious teaching residency in the Berklee Ensemble Department, known as the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance. Lovano has been named Jazz Artist of the Year twice by Down Beat magazine. He also earned prestigious trifecta in 1998 with nominations for Musician of the Year, Improviser of the Year, and Best Tenor Saxophonist in the New York Jazz Awards. Topping both the Down Beat readers and critics polls as Tenor Player of the Year in 2000. Trio Tapestry is Lovano’s ECM records trio that consists of Marilyn Crispell, piano, and Carmen Castaldi, drums. The trio is now releasing the follow up to their debut album in 2019. The new album, titled Garden of Expression, continues the trio’s musical concept of interaction, songfulness and tension, and release.
Bottom Line: Garden of Expression is filled with eight compositions written by Lovano and was at Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in Lugano. The space the music was recorded in does affect the sound and performance, which was optimally produced by Manfred Eicher. In November of 2019, the trio was in Switzerland for their second tour, and they played a concert in the Lugano studio the night before the recording began. Lovano explains, “Having given a full performance there, we were very comfortable with the room. The tone there, and the sound and the feeling in that space, built to be a recital room, is amazing. We played forte and really felt it. We played at pianissimo volume, and you heard the music vibrating in the room. And that created a real spiritual delivery on each composition, as we allowed the music to unfold.” The bassless trio gives Lavano and Crispell the freedom to flow in harmonic directions that are fresh and pastel in nature. The opening track, “Chapel Song,” establishes this freedom and transparency in an evolving melody. The straight-eight feel has elements of European Jazz, and the interaction and time flow is impressive. “West of the Moon” has a jazz ballad form and approach; again, the music breathes between phrases, and each player is intently listening to the other. In a very mellow set, “Garden of Expression” has welcome energy and intensity. “Dream on That” is another selection where the trio explores more energetic material and moods. Overall, the album has an impressive flow characterized by deep listening and explorations of the moment. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Joe Lovano: Website |
Garden of Expression
West of the Moon
Garden of Expression
Dream on That
December 11, 2020