Before saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano became a household name with his lengthy tenure at Blue Note Records, he gigged constantly and recorded both as a leader and as a sideman. This album features all original compositions save one, Charles Mingus’ lush “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love.” Joining Lovano on this album is a potent group with Tom Harrell on trumpet, Kenny Werner on piano, Marc Johnson on bass and Paul Motian on drums. "Village Rhythm" opens the album with strong and confident medium-up tempoed swing. Lovano solos lustily as does Harrell with ripe piano accompaniment. "Birds of Springtime Gone By" is a lovely and patient ballad with the piano shadowing the saxophone in a beautiful and polished manner. The pace quickens on “Dewey Said,” dedicated to both Dewey Redman and Miles Davis. Motian’s superb drumming leads the way before a spitfire trumpet solo takes hold over pulsating bass and drums. Lovano finally enters with a torrid solo that makes this performance the highlight of the set. "T'Was to Me Part 1: Celebration of Life Everlasting," a tribute to Lovano’s father has a hollow sounding saxophone tone with complex percussion akin to some of Don Cherry’s world-jazz experiments. “Sleepy Giant” and “Spirit of the Night” wrap up the album with a fast pace with fast full band swing. There are joyous tenor saxophone solos with piano accompaniment, and storming trumpet that lead the full band to a fine conclusion. This was a very solid LP and well worth investigating for fans of Lovano’s more polished and thematic Blue Note recordings. The music may be a little rougher around the edges, but it is all the more exciting for it. Village Rhythm - amazon.com
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