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Stepping Up with Sound Prints

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Friday June 22, 2018

From Jazzwise Magazine

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas step up with Sound Prints at the Village Vanguard
By: Michael Jackson

[…] Lovano and Douglas dramatically commenced their set on the tight stage in the wedge shaped corner of this tiny, hallowed venue, with contrapuntal, antiphonal, unaccompanied horns. The two leaders alternated original compositions with settings of Wayne Shorter classics (a Douglas arrangement of ‘Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum’ and Lovano’s recasting of ‘Juju’) starting with the trumpeter’s ‘Dream State’ – the lead-off track from their recommended recent release Scandal. Counterweighting the lines of trumpet and straight tenor were a consistent feature of the intensely interwoven music which was stoked with relevance and energy by the redoubtable Joey Baron, one of the most valuable jazz drummers since Billy Higgins. Also superb was the insistent timing, rich tone and concentrated ideas of bassist Linda May Han Oh, who had picked up the gong for bassist of the year at the Jazz Journalists’ Awards a couple of hours earlier.

St Louis-born pianist and former Berklee student of Lovano, not to mention a tall drink of water, was Lawrence Fields, whose rangy fingers maintained a dancing pulse and chordal architecture reminiscent, at intervals, of Herbie Hancock. Despite impassioned solos from all, it was the tunes that held the night, more so the originals than the Wayne arrangements, notably Douglas’ memorable ‘Ups and Downs’. The latter, a lilting ballad, began with an impressionistic descending/ascending line from the tenor with contrary motion harmonization from trumpet, beautifully buoyed by the rhythm section. Other Douglas odes that stood out were the eponymous CD title track, more mournful than scandalous per se, a sad paean to these politically messed up times, which featured bulbous muted trumpet and sighing, controlled cynicism from Lovano. At a similar dirge-like tempo was ‘Libra’, an arresting theme with episodic changes reminiscent of Shorter’s adventurousness, succinctly rendered with a pellucid piano intro. Saliently, and I’ve noticed this before with the capacious book of John Zorn’s Masada, Douglas has all the music memorised before he hits the bandstand.

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