Tuesday January 08, 2013
New Albums by Joe Lovano Us Five and Chris Tomlin
By: Ben Ratliff and Jon Caramanica
Most jazz musicians are flexible: it’s a philosophical requirement of the job. At 60, Joe Lovano is an extreme case, moving toward universality.
Long ago he developed a tenor saxophone sound for his temperament. It rolls and smears and smokes, all width, rhythmic unto itself; it can fit in or accommodate. His starting place is bebop’s complex language, but he seems to be listening to something underneath language and style, something that could be well illustrated by jazz but isn’t specific to it. He’s good with a particular rhythm, or a structure, or a set of changes, but he doesn’t need any of it. And so an ideal Joe Lovano performance might be one that sounds good with New York’s advanced-harmony killer elite, but that could be effectively cut and pasted over a trap beat or a string quartet or scale exercises or traffic sounds.
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