Label: ECM Records, 2019
Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Marilyn Crispell: piano; Carmen Castaldi: drums.
Grammy-award winning composer/saxophonist Joe Lovano makes his debut on the ECM Records with Trio Tapestry, a new project that integrates the highly expressive pianism of Marilyn Crispell and the inspiring drumming of Carmen Castaldi. Adopting a democratic posture, the group has the pianist and the drummer contributing in an intense way to shape Lovano’s compositions into something uniquely intimate and beautiful.
The opener, “One Time In”, a one-on-one conversation between saxophone and percussion, bristles with deliberately prayerful melodies, unpredictable percussive trajectories, and bright gongs. It leads to the most enchanting piece on the record, “Seeds of Change”, which, gravitating with lamenting intonations, illuminates the world with the warm spiritual light it needs at the present time. Don’t be surprised if you get this positive, energetic current going down your spine as this song firstly caresses your ears and then touches your heart, transporting you to a heavenly dimension.
Crispell introduces “Razzle Dazzle” with pianistic reverie and a generous dash of abstraction. The feel is corroborated by the Motian-esque spaciousness of Castaldi’s brushwork along with the plaintive lines of Lovano.
“Sparkle Light” and “Rare And Beauty” exhibit sax and piano in close collaboration, whether in the form of unisons or complementing each other with intensely deep movements, frequent emitters of peacefulness. On the latter piece, the unison statements are a bit more energetic, but there’s still a propensity toward tranquility. Leisurely rhythmic flexibility often welcomes passionate individual statements. However, this is music with commitment and Castaldi’s unobtrusive drumming asserts that there is no space for egos here, only solidarity and integrity. He showcases his gong percussion on “Gong Episode” as well as on “Mystic”, a piece he occasionally agitates with mallets, yet prevailing the general state of musing.
By displaying contemplative virtues, the trio doesn’t resort to showing you everything they can do. What they do here is harder than showing off all their technique and musical prowess at once. These tunes fly and soar before penetrating into our minds. However, compositions like “Spirit Lake” - aesthetically assembled with arpeggiated tension, restless drumming, and emotionally blazing saxophone - and “The Smiling Dog” - the biting closing piece whose intensity expands via crafted rhythmic accents and the strong communicative presence of the artists - bring in many other colors, conjuring up avant-garde jazz routines that never cease to spiritualize and amaze.
The creativity and adaptability of Lovano and his peers stimulate Trio Tapestry to endlessly pique our interest with a lucent musicality from which we don’t want to be apart.
02 - Seeds of Change ► 08 - Rare Beauty ► 11 - The Smiling Dog