Jan 20, 2019
I have always associated Joe Lovano with the Blue Note label. For 25+ years, he recorded as a leader with that august label, primarily due to his friendship with the late Bruce Lundvall. But at the same time, Lovano was a fixture at ECM, recording as sideman for John Abercrombie, Paul Motian, Marc Johnson and Steve Kuhn. The results are many of my favorite jazz recordings of the past few decades.
It was only a matter of time before he would record with Manfred Eicher as a leader, and one of the first releases of 2019 is his top-notch debut with the label, Trio Tapestry. Leading a bass-less trio, Lovano has recorded a lyrical CD with ECM veteran Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi. Listeners may recall Castaldi recorded with Lovano on the tenor sax player’s album Viva Caruso in 2001.
Trio Tapestry requires close listening for all of its charms to become clear. In our telephone conversation, Lovano pointed out repeatedly that this trio was based on the conversational nature of the trio format. Each player was required to fulfill his or her roles by often eschewing the traditional duties of a rhythm section member or provider of melody, and bring to the intimate Lovano tunes their gifts as musicians and improvisers.
The Trio has a heavy touring schedule for the first half of the year, the highlight of which may come on March 15 in San Francisco, when Lovano leads Trio Tapestry and a second trio with Bill Frisell and Tyshawn Sorey at the SFJAZZ Center
Podcast 6__ is my conversation with Joe Lovano, where we discuss his history at ECM and Blue Note, how Trio Tapestry came together, and why he continues to play, write and record music in different styles and genres well into his sixties. Musical selections from Trio Tapestry include "Razzle Dazzle", "Rare Beauty" and "The Smiling Dog".