Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas' Sound Prints - Scandal

Label: Greenleaf Music, 2018

Personnel – Joe Lovano: tenor and soprano saxophones; Dave Douglas: trumpet; Lawrence Fields: piano; Linda May Han Ho: bass; Joey Baron: drums.

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Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano, two incredible composers/arrangers and stalwarts in the art of playing trumpet and saxophone, respectively, co-lead the Wayne Shorter-inspired quintet Sound Prints, for which they composed original material. Their high caliber rhythm section - pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Ho, and drummer Joey Baron - spends time creating intuitive bounces that would better serve the soloists while solidifying rapport. Scandal was released on Douglas' Greenleaf Music imprint and marks the band’s first studio session, following Sound Prints - Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, released on Blue Note Records in 2015.

The album’s opener is Douglas’ “Dream State”, a 5/4-metered piece whose magnificent groove underpins a pungent, gospel-inflected motif uttered with conjoint twin-like sympathy by the horn alliance. Subsequently, it becomes two separate lines that burst in a soulful combination of timbre and vocabulary. The trumpeter shows off his wide range and authority while the saxophonist engages in those inimitable, sinuous phrases that are as strapping as they are dizzying.

On Lovano’s bop-fueled “High Noon” and “The Corner Tavern”, the quintet dwells in a state of buoyant elegance. If the former swings uptempo, then the latter conquers with a calypso-like groove, featuring the horn players exchanging improvised lines with edgy moves and logic sequence. Han Ho and Fields also show their affirming soloing skills before re-entering the final theme section, while Baron edits his percussive jabs to wonderful moderation.

Full Sun” and “Full Moon” are contrasting in tone and essence since the former, in opposition to the lyric, spacious, and quizzical latter, is an elated post-bop ride typically structured with flexible solos from bass, saxophone, and trumpet. 

Shorter’s “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum” and “JuJu” are equal parts inventive and reverent, and the band brings them back to life with very satisfying rhythmic ideas and melodic peculiarities. Shades of the honored saxophonist are also present on the beautiful title track, which adds some Miles and Coltrane to the mix, and also on the dreamy ballad “Ups and Downs”, both products of Douglas’ creative mind.

This is a great comeback from Sound Prints, whose effervescent and sagacious playing sounds pretty damn good.

       Grade  A-

       Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Dream State ► 02 - Full Sun ► 09 - Full Moon