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Song You Need to Know: Joe Lovano, 'Rare Beauty'

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Tuesday January 29, 2019

From Rolling Stone

Song You Need to Know: Joe Lovano, ‘Rare Beauty’
By: Hank Shteamer

‘Rare Beauty,’ a standout track from Joe Lovano’s new album Trio Tapestry, starts with a deep, resonant tom-tom rumble from drummer Carmen Castaldi. Lovano’s tenor saxophone and Marilyn Crispell’s piano enter with a snaking, up-and-down line, which Castaldi accompanies and answers. The way the instruments swirl together, intuitively tracing out the chant-like theme without settling into a steady rhythm, instantly recalls a sound pioneered by the late drummer-composer Paul Motian.

[…] After the opening theme of ‘Rare Beauty,’ Crispell offers a lovely, billowing improvisation on the melody, as Castaldi accompanies her with subtle patterns and colors on his ride cymbal. Their duo gives way to an equally poetic saxophone feature that strips down to a ghostly swing-feel duo between Lovano and Castaldi. Even as the energy picks up, a feeling of space and stillness prevails. Crispell re-enters and, without returning to the opening statement, the three bring the piece to a gradual close.

Overall, ‘Rare Beauty’ is a piece that, like those earlier Motian recordings, defies the idea that jazz needs to be either ‘free’ or ‘traditional,’ ‘in’ or ‘out.’ As with Trio Tapestry as a whole, it’s both enchantingly melodic and alluringly mysterious.

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