Thursday, November 10, 2022

Jakob Bro / Joe Lovano – Once Around The Room: A Tribute To Paul Motian (ECM Records, 2022)

Joe Lovano and Jakob Bro lead a dynamic nod to the master drummer and bandleader Paul Motian, which features compositions by the leaders and an exciting take on Motian’s own “Drum Music.” The full band consists of Lovano on tenor saxophone and tarogato, Bro on guitar, Larry Grenadier and Thomas Morgan on bass, Anders Christensen on bass guitar, Joey Baron and Jorge Rossy on drums. "As It Should Be" develops shadowy bass and percussion with shades of saxophone and guitar. The band meshes nicely, with an increased sense of urgency. Shards of guitar spark, as Lovano blows gales of deep and dark tenor saxophone, perfect for this setting, building to a tightly coiled full band improvisation, adding a drum feature to close. Soft guitar and airy saxophone opens "Sound Creation," with spare bass notes enter from soft soprano saxophone and light and agile percussion leading the way. Moving to tenor saxophone and sticks played drums, the music becomes fuller and more muscular, leading to a spare and haunting outro. On "For The Love Of Paul," drums set the stage, leading to a Monk like theme ascending and descending from the saxophone, developing a free, open area for deep bass and percussion astride stark sounding tenor saxophone. Lovano's solo is deep and complex, played with power and grace. The guitar moves in with a strident affected sound, sharp lines of sound shot across the soundstage. Lovano returns to engage, and the the sound breaks leading to a well articulated bass feature before the band returns to the tidy melody with drum embellishments. A gentle ballad, "Song To An Old Friend" has a pleasant guitar and saxophone tone with luxuriant bass playing the music that is deeply melodic and lush, played with patience and a sense of gratitude. The music flows clearly like a stream, and the group is playing together without ego. Heavy handed percussion opens "Drums Music," with strong deep saxophone and electric guitar harmonizing, creating a heavy nearly oppressing sound. There is a stark grinding industrial prog guitar solo, followed by Lovano surprisingly sounding out and free, casting out raw peals of saxophone sound, overblowing and really pushing the limits. There is a short deeply rhythmic drum solo that underpins the all-in push to the end. The closing track, "Pause," calms things down, blossoming as a ballad of soft guitar sound mixed with tasteful bass playing, gentle and quiet, evening music on the porch at sunset, adding the lightest of feathery brushed percussion, while Lovano's soprano saxophone enters late weaving among the other instruments like a late arriving guest. This album was very successful, Paul Motian has a huge influence upon modern jazz and this album reflects that with the thoughtful compositions, and spontaneous improvisations by fully committed musicians. Once Around The Room: A Tribute To Paul Motian -

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