19.05.2023 | Reviews of the week

Reviews of the week

The new album Our Daily Bread by Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry is greeted with acclaim in the US, UK and Belgium

 

Saxophonist Joe Lovano became a titan of mainstream jazz throughout the nineties, a musician as willing to please the faithful as take new chances. His adventurous spirit fully flowered once he shifted to ECM and formed Trio Tapestry with likeminded iconoclasts Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Carmen Castaldi (drums). The threesome’s third LP together, ‘Our Daily Bread’ keeps faith with the band’s prior explorations of spiritual and free jazz Lovano compositions. […] The title track sounds like a new ballad standard being born, while ‘Grace Notes’ may be the Trio’s most fully developed, gorgeous song yet. Provocative at some points, mesmerizing at others, ‘Our Daily Bread’ stands a chance of becoming just that for listeners seeking deeper meaning in music.

Michael Toland, Big Takeover

 

Each of Lovano’s compositions on ‘Our Daily Bread’ follows a different path. The title track is airy, pastoral, and bright, with Crispell’s melody lines floating effortlessly. ‘The Power of Three,’ on the other hand, is jagged and emphatic. ‘One for Charlie’ is Lovano’s tribute to the great bassist Charlie Haden. Lovano plays the piece solo, and he expresses a sense of deep respect, as well as grief at the loss of a musician with whom he had a long history. The three musicians interact intuitively, letting Lovano’s evocative compositions guide them. Castaldi provides color and shape for the pieces, and Crispell alternates between expansive chording and simpler intervals that provide firm support for Lovano’s excursions. Her own solos are also affecting and well developed. The sound on ‘Our Daily Bread’ is outstanding, in keeping with ECM’s high standards (the album is also available on LP and CD). The trio recorded at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, Switzerland, and the level of detail is often breathtaking. Lovano’s saxophone is three-dimensional and vivid, Crispell’s piano resonates soundly, and the smallest details of Castaldi’s percussion and drums are easily audible. The music on ‘Our Daily Bread’, which is improvisational but hard to classify, is at home at ECM; the label has a long history of allowing musicians like Joe Lovano to take risks.

Joseph Taylor, Soundstage Experience

 

Rising from a serene inner place, the music takes shape like prayer. That it is prayer that lies at the beating heart of all eight spacious spirituals that comprise ‘Our Daily Bread’, should come as no surprise. Bearing the expressive quietism of his ancestors—John Coltrane, Sonny Stitt, and Ornette Coleman among them—saxophonist Joe Lovano has never hid his leaning towards higher powers. Imagine Trio Tapestry’s third deep listening, deeply rewarding ECM release as a house of worship at sunrise. […] To take nothing away from the trio’s previous singular ECM releases—‘Trio Tapestry’ (2018) and ‘Garden of Expression’ (2020)— ‘Our Daily Bread’ ‘s keynote track may be the trio’s definitive performance to date. Unhurried by time and place, Crispell again heralds in a new tomorrow to which Lovano responds with a grateful, consummate beauty. An ease of spirit and insight captured at the moment of fruition. Invested with meaning and pure emotion, ‘One for Charlie’ serves not only as a solemn paean to the memory of bassist Charlie Haden but also as a celebration of the music they made and the journey they took together.

Mike Jurkovic, All About Jazz

 

Saxist Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry, with cross-genre piano original Marilyn Crispell and sensitive percussionist Carmen Castaldi, combine three-way jazz spontaneity with 12-tone serial forms and Lovano’s tenor-ballad lyricism on ‘Trio Tapestry – Our Daily Bread.’

John Fordham, The Guardian

 

Lovano’s playing is utterly majestic. The whole album is very engaging, but for me, there are two tunes in particular that really hit the sweet spot. Back in 2008, Lovano recorded an album with pianist Steve Kuhn’s trio called ‘Mostly Coltrane’. Released on the ECM label, the album stands very high on my long list of favourite records. On this latest Trio Tapestry release, ‘Grace Notes’ and ‘Our Daily Bread’ – the title track, remind me of the ‘Mostly Coltrane’ album. There’s a vulnerability to Lovano’s playing that is just stunningly affecting. Yet at the same time, the saxophonist conveys such strength with his stirring, lyrical playing. It’s music such as this that gently soars, swathed in its own beguiling spirituality.

Mike Gates, UK Vibe

 

Each Trio Tapestry album has journeyed into the profound and each inhabits human condition territory – that deep anguish Kierkegaard expressed in his great work – we arrive at given the scale of the achievement when the music becomes a vessel to understanding. It certainly does given the mood, feeling and abstract meaning in the layering of deep philosophical complexion. You cannot but believe what these three play. About freedom of expression couched in a language which isn’t strung together from someone else’s vision but one that fundamentally speaks their truth and which can be absorbed by any listener willing to surrender to their sound. […] The tribute to Charlie Haden is a thing of beauty but just about every one of these 8 tracks is as well. Change the way you think about pretty much anything you know about jazz by listening to ‘Our Daily Bread’ deeply and often.

Stephen Graham, Marlbank

 

Au sein du trio, la complicité est essentielle à la réussite de ces moments prenants, avec le silence comme quatrième partenaire.

Dominique Simonet, Arts Libre

A German reviewer on the freshly released album Eventually by the Jacob Young Trio

 

Obwohl Young seine musikalische Eigenständigkeit betont, schimmern in seinem Spiel Einflüsse der Gitarristen Terje Rypdal und John Abercrombie durch. Von den Besten gelernt zu haben, ist wahrlich keine Schande, zumal Young mit diesem Schatz äußerst kreativ umgeht. Das Titelstück ‘Eventually’ deutet zu Beginn der Disc die Richtung an: Hier gibt es keinen Leader mit Begleitern. Im offenen, kommunikativen Zusammenspiel ergänzen der Kontrabassist Mats Eilertsen und der Schlagzeuger Audun Kleive das Melodie- und Akkordspiel von Young um dunkle, rhythmisch akzentuierte Linien und einen nervösen Puls. […] Um in ‘Northbound’ eine düstere Abendstimmung zu erreichen oder in der Ballade ‘The Meaning Of Joy’ eine verträumt-zwielichtige Atmosphäre zu erzeugen, wählt er jeweils eine klangliche Grundeinstellung, der er während des Stücks weitgehend treu bleibt. Dabei klingt sein Instrument eher schlank und rau, während Eilertsens Kontrabass Attacke und Volumen vereint. Mit dem gleichermaßen agilen und beschaulichen ‘Inside’ endet ein Album ohne Aufreger oder laute Momente. Trotzdem ist ‘Eventually’ so voll an Melodien, Stimmungen und Gefühlen, dass man sich wundert, wie schnell 42 Minuten vergehen können.

Werner Stiefele, Rondo

US reactions to the album Vagabond by Dominic Miller

A quiet little treasure, a refuge from the madness, a softly glowing gem.

Jim Hynes, Making A Scene

 

Once again, you might expect an album recorded by quartet led by a guitarist who composed all of the music to feature high-speed virtuosic guitar solos, but that is not the case here. The music is generally quiet, laid-back, and contemplative, with cooperative interplay among the musicians rather than trading off solos. The cut ‘Mi Viejo’ (‘My Old Man’) is a solo guitar outing of great tenderness; although it is brief at just over two minutes, it obviously carries a great depth of meaning for Miller, which he communicates though the abstract but powerful medium of music. The sound is rich and reverberant in the traditional ECM style.

Karl Nehring, Classical Candor

 

A US reviewer on It’s Always Now by the Ralph Alessi Quartet

 

The trumpeter opens his fourth ECM album as a leader with some arresting abstraction –a typically bold choice, and one that sets the mood of a disc that goes its own way not out of defiance, but with a piqued interest in off-kilter beauty. Pecking silvery notes through a spray of glisses by pianist Florian Weber, Alessi introduces us to his latest ensemble while revealing newfound emotional depth in his playing. […] Surrounded by the pianist, bassist Bänz Oester, and drummer Gerry Hemingway, Alessi’s level of expression is amplified throughout. […] Each member of the band adds to this atmosphere; the rhythm section is utterly pliable and supportive while always maintaining its foothold in the foreground. As feisty romps such as ‘His Hopes, His Fears, His Tears’ remind, even a frenzied swirl can have a joyous side. ’It’s Always Now’ finds Alessi addressing the emotion of the moment, regardless of what it may be.

Jim Macnie, Tone Publications

A UK music monthly on the fifth and final recording of the Prism series by the Danish String Quartet

 

Some eight years in the making, the Danish Quartet’s survey of the Beethoven late quartets reaches journey’s end: ‘last words’ are in order. And not just Beethoven’s quartet swansong Op. 135. Bach has been a constant point of reference throughout the series, and the musicians bring an effortless beatific refinement to an arrangement of the chorale prelude ‚Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich hiermit, a work supposedly dictated by Bach from his deathbed. […] The series’ customary 20th-century companion is Webern’s single-movement String Quartet of 1905, a work suffused with the voluptuous expressionism of his teacher Schoenberg’s sextet ‚Verklärte Nacht‘, and it’s delivered with expansive insight and lyrical sweep. Op. 135, meanwhile, discloses all the hallmarks of close study, intelligent interrogation and fastidiously calibrated response, that have characterised the performances throughout the cycle. The insouciant opening is lovingly detailed; the Vivace scampers along before the music turns formidably truculent […] A potent reading, potently illuminated by the contextualising Bach and Webern.

Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine

Current Concerts
& Events

Dominic Miller is playing almost 50 concerts across the globe in the cominig months

John Scofield and his trio are performing in the US and Asia in April and June. Throughout the year, more solo and quartet concerts are scheduled.

Fred Hersch is touring in support of his piano solo album 'Silent, Listening'