Nov 28, 2018
One of today’s masters of the vibraphone, Joe Locke continues to record albums that go beyond mere technical artistry. Sure, he can play the vibes with the best of them, but his last two albums, 2015’s Love is a Pendulum and the just released Subtle Disguise, allow him to find new and interesting ways to write, play and record his music. While Love is a Pendulum had a structured five-movement suite as it’s center, Subtle Disguise is more of a “band album”, as Locke leads an exciting quartet through tunes that range from the blues to modern jazz.
The band – Locke on vibes; Jim Ridl on piano; Lorin Cohen on bass; and Samvel Sarkisyan on drums – has meshed brilliantly, Whether they are playing electric instruments on tunes like “Red Cloud” or “Blondie Roundabout” or acoustic on the title track or “Make Me Feel Like It’s Raining,” there is a tightness that makes the material shine. Of course, when you add guest artists like Adam Rogers on guitar and David Binney on alto, there are even more opportunities for the textures and harmonies of Locke’s compositions to stand out.
A pair of singers are part of the album’s two highlights - Raul Midón’s vocals on Bob Dylan’s rarity “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and the up and coming talent Alina Engibaryan on the album closer, “A Little More Each Day.” Locke has a solid history of working with vocalists, and he knows how to get the best from these two.
Podcast 468 is my conversation with Joe Locke, as we not only talk about Subtle Disguise, but also his past recordings and performances with the artists as varied as Ron Carter, Jim Rotondi and Dr. Eddie Henderson to Cecil Taylor to the Beastie Boys (on Hello Nasty). Musical selections from the new CD include “Who Killed Davey Moore?”, “Blondie Roundabout” and “A Little More Each Day.”