Joe Lovano's Debut as a Leader on ECM

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Wednesday January 02, 2019


Joe Lovano’s Debut as a Leader on ECM Records
By: Dan Ouellette

There’s no keeping Joe Lovano idle on the recording front. After nearly three decades as the preeminent star on Blue Note Records, the tenor saxophonist has found a new home at ECM Records as a leader with Trio Tapestry, a sensitively lyrical interplay with pianist Marilyn Crispell and his longtime colleague drummer Carmen Castaldi.

It’s Lovano’s first studio outing since 2013’s Cross Culture with his Us Five band on Blue Note and inarguably an innovative new turn in his career. As he writes in the album’s liner notes: ‘The everyday series of episodes takes us to some unexpected faraway places in the 12-tone mystical, sparkling, dazzling lights of sound that inspire us to create.’

In its entirety, the album shines as a date of mystical, meditative and spirited embellishments. On the eve of Lovano’s 66th birthday (29 December), he talked with Qwest TV about his distinctive new album and speculation about his future projects.

This album sounds so much different than all your other albums. There’s a soulful sensitivity and a lyrical expression without a lot of full blowing your saxophone. You’ve said that this is some of the most intimate and personal music that you’ve recorded. How were these sessions different?

I wrote all the compositions specifically with a 12-tone concept in mind. I wanted to have all three of us improvising with different tonalities. In the last ten years of his life, I spent time sitting in with Ornette [Coleman} in his space and got involved with his theory of harmolodics. He gave me a lot of ideas about making a tapestry of melody, harmony and rhythms. I wrote most of these pieces when I was on the road. It’s all about stating a melody and then letting things come together. I call each of the tunes episodes. Today’s scene is so aggressive and overdone that I wanted to make a recording of beauty, love, passion. I wanted to make a record that was personal’“not just a jazz record, but music about expression.

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