Joe Lovano in "artsy" mode
Anthony Cooper | Louisville, KY United States | 08/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Lovano pulls in an experienced pianist, James Weidman, and a young rhythm section of Esperanza Spalding on bass, and Otis Brown and Francisco Mela on drums for "Folk Art". Unfortunately, the mix puts the bass and drums in the back, so even though they're doing good stuff back there, you don't tend to notice without focusing on it. The good news is that Lovano is in fine form, and Weidman is very good. The songs are all originals, and mostly good. Lovano resists the urge to be too crowd-pleasing and plays in a way to reward some concentration. One exception is "Dibango", which features the aulochrome, a horn with a buzzy, distinctive tone. The melody gives instant gratification, in contrast to the more cerebral stuff. This is very solid, serious, mainstream jazz worth recommending.
Speedy | Fl, MO USA | 01/17/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lovano is always great no matter which project he is in. And here he comes again with a fresh proposal, a group of young cats who deliver the goods in all of these fresh compositions by Lovano. As he explains in the liner notes with these musicians of a younger generation he was able to try out new ideas based or inspired on Charlie Parker and Coltrane as well as working on harmolodic ideas of Coleman. the result is a joy ride where composed material is mixed with melodic improvised material and 'outside' type playing (of which there is a lot!). Having 2 percussionist/drummers keeps things boiling most of the time. The piano player and the bass player are really fine musicians too. A very good new side of Lovano outside the circle of his usual partners."
A variety of feels from a jazz master
DJ Outro | Austin, TX | 07/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Lovano is a modern jazz master, combining the forms and feels of his great predecessors with his own swinging, free jazz, wailing improvisations. In this, his 22nd Blue Note album, he has assembled a new group with whom he jams on a variety of instruments - sax, clarinet, gongs, etc. Still, I'd say it's more an exploration of feels than of sounds. The title track Folk Art (tk 2), for instance, starts with a great vamp for first three minutes, followed by tempered drum solo, devolves into a more traditional swing feel, and ends up back on the vamp. On Us Five (tk 4), Lovano shows off his stunning control of the saxophone, producing muted wails over fast-tempo, dissonant changes. Song For Judi (tk 5) feels like the background music at a fancy department store while Dibango (tk 7) has a funkier, African feel. All around, a solid set."