JOE LOCKE, LAY DOWN MY HEART


An accomplished leader, producer and composer, the industrious vibes player Joe Locke combines the spirited styling of Bobby Hutcherson with the soul of Roy Ayers, and rarely stays still as a recording artist. He pushes his boundaries from project to project, keeping multiple bands together (Force of Four, Storms/Nocturnes,) and in 2012 launched another, the Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, which resulted in the excellent groove-based Signing (Motema.) Lately, Locke has pursued a more romantic side of his art with Wish Upon A Star where the Lincoln Nebraska Symphony Orchestra backs him. Thankfully, for jazz fans everywhere, I have a feeling that Joe Locke is nowhere near the end of his “to do” list.

Locke’s Lay Down My Heart/Blues and Ballads, Vol 1 features a new band that includes pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist David Finck and hot drummer of the moment, Jaimeo Brown, and it doles out its soulfulness in chunks. The simmering groove on Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” has an awesome low-slung funkiness that gives the quartet a chance to swagger, while the Weather Report-style downbeats kick “Bittersweet” into gear. Other highlights include a smooth, straight-ahead read of Frank Foster’s “Simone,’ that chugs along and Locke’s own “This New October,” a misty ballad buoyed by the vibist’s sensitive soloing. The arrangements provide the group with a generous amount of harmonious interplay; particularly pianist Ryan Cohan who impresses with his beefy way with the keys and often brings a Ramsey Lewis feel to his solos. Whether or not Locke is signaling what’s to come on Volume 2, the CD closes with a heartfelt rendering of “Dedicated To You,” evoking the Coltrane/Hartman while achieving its own level of transcendence. (9 tracks; 54 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: JOE LOCKE, LAY DOWN MY HEART

Sunday, June 2, 2013

JOE LOCKE, LAY DOWN MY HEART


An accomplished leader, producer and composer, the industrious vibes player Joe Locke combines the spirited styling of Bobby Hutcherson with the soul of Roy Ayers, and rarely stays still as a recording artist. He pushes his boundaries from project to project, keeping multiple bands together (Force of Four, Storms/Nocturnes,) and in 2012 launched another, the Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, which resulted in the excellent groove-based Signing (Motema.) Lately, Locke has pursued a more romantic side of his art with Wish Upon A Star where the Lincoln Nebraska Symphony Orchestra backs him. Thankfully, for jazz fans everywhere, I have a feeling that Joe Locke is nowhere near the end of his “to do” list.

Locke’s Lay Down My Heart/Blues and Ballads, Vol 1 features a new band that includes pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist David Finck and hot drummer of the moment, Jaimeo Brown, and it doles out its soulfulness in chunks. The simmering groove on Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” has an awesome low-slung funkiness that gives the quartet a chance to swagger, while the Weather Report-style downbeats kick “Bittersweet” into gear. Other highlights include a smooth, straight-ahead read of Frank Foster’s “Simone,’ that chugs along and Locke’s own “This New October,” a misty ballad buoyed by the vibist’s sensitive soloing. The arrangements provide the group with a generous amount of harmonious interplay; particularly pianist Ryan Cohan who impresses with his beefy way with the keys and often brings a Ramsey Lewis feel to his solos. Whether or not Locke is signaling what’s to come on Volume 2, the CD closes with a heartfelt rendering of “Dedicated To You,” evoking the Coltrane/Hartman while achieving its own level of transcendence. (9 tracks; 54 minutes)

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