Monday, April 27, 2015

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas - Sound Prints: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival (Blue Note, 2015)

Sound Prints is a collaboration between saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas along with pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Joey Baron. The title song “Soundprints” opens the album with a spiritual connection to the great Eric Dolphy/Booker Little quintet, as the band builds to a very exciting intertwining of the horns, weaving to and fro over powerful, propulsive drumming. Linda Oh is a monster on this album and her thick bass provides a firm focus for the music to revolve around. Baron’s delicate brushwork heralds the arrival of the saxophone and trumpet on “Sprints” and they take the opportunity to harmonize in a complex fashion. Lovano breaks free in a Sonny Rollins like flight of fancy, he has a  dark and powerful tone made all the more potent by the crashing drum support. Douglas’s turn follows, and he slowly develops his statement with resilient confidence. There is a fine spotlight for the rhythm section, who really should be given a chance to record their own trio album. “Destination Unknown” moves into mysterious territory, with majestic horns making a complex yet accessible statement accented by high pitched trumpet and thoughtful rhythm accompaniment. The unit of piano, bass and drums is also prominently featured on “To Sail Beyond the Sunset.” The music is light and fleet of foot, and the musicians move with a confident grace. Oh is again impressive with a wonderfully communicative bass solo before the remainder of the band fills in for the conclusion. “Weatherman” is a short fast palette cleanser before the band launches into it’s concluding performance, “Power Ranger.” The music builds tension with aggressive percussion and the whole band is able to spin on a dime, especially Douglas, whose solo is a lithe beauty. Solo space is shared equally on this song, and the excitement never falters, as Lovano solos with burly grace over thrashing drums, before a calm interlude for bass and piano focus the music to a strong finish. This is state of the art modern mainstream jazz. Lovano and Douglas may share the billing, but in fact this is a supergroup of some of the finest players in modern improvised music. Egos are kept in check throughout and the results are stellar. Sound Prints: Live At Monterey Jazz Festival -

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