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Lart de la ballade est, peu ou prou, la pierre dachoppement pour tout musicien de jazz qui se respecte et, pour un saxophoniste ténor, ce ne sont pas les modèles qui manquent dans ce domaine. Joe Lovano nest évidemment pas un débutant, ni sur linstrument ni dans ce style, mais il ny avait encore jamais consacré un enregistrement entier. Aussi a-t-il pris soin de sentourer de spécialistes du genre, dinstrumentistes chevronnés et sensibles, capables denvelopper sa sonorité profonde et charnue dharmonies suggestives et de rythmes souples. Réussite totale pour celui que lon considère de plus en plus comme la référence majeure du ténor contemporain. Classicisme et modernité, puissance feutrée et caresses, amour de la mélodie et goût du beau son. Lovano, Hank Jones, George Mraz et Paul Motian revisitent neuf ballades intemporelles avec une gourmandise et un savoir-faire qui ont toutes chances de servir de modèle aux jeunes générations de musiciens. En attendant, elles feront le régal des connaisseurs. --Thierry Quénum
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Le réécouter quelques années après, c'est retrouver le plaisir éprouvé au premier contact, mais sans doute un peu modifié. Dans mon souvenir, ce "ballad songbook" était l'occasion pour Joe Lovano de faire valoir ses sonorités les plus chaudes, ses phrasés les plus langoureux. Ce n'est à vrai dire qu'en partie le cas, car si ces ballades sont bien prétexte à mettre en valeur un son de ténor bien caractéristique, d'une chaleur certaine, le lyrisme est comme souvent chez lui contenu. Il ne recherche en aucun cas une ampleur démesurée. Pour suave qu'il puisse parfois être, le son de Lovano n'est jamais d'une sensualité exacerbée: peut-être ne pourrait-on pas dire de lui, comme le rappelle Ira Gitler dans les notes de pochette, ce qu'on disait de Coleman Hawkins, "l'homme qui transformait le saxophone en sexophone". Cela étant, dans un titre comme 'I Waited for You', peut-être le clou de cet album, il faut bien reconnaître à Lovano un potentiel érotique certain...Lire la suite ›
Un très bon album , idéal pour tous ceux qui aime le jazz cool de très grande qualité, ce disque est pour eux , Joe Lovano c'est admirablement entouré un pur bonheur dans ce monde grisâtre.
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Lovano has always been a wonderful ballad player; to hear him in this intimate context with players of the absolute highest caliber is a very special treat. Lovano has a kind of street-smart, blue-collar, no-nonsense approach that enables him to imbue his ballad playing with complete sincerity, devoid of sentimentality or irony. Just as importantly, in his middle-to-late years as an artist, he has found his way to a mode of expression uniquely his own: deeply honest, gently persuasive, and totally heartfelt. The tone he achieves is nothing short of remarkable. What strikes me about it is how conversational it is, while at the same time being subtly profound. It's almost as if you're casually chatting with him and all of a sudden he drops some major bomb about postmodern hermeneutics, absolutely apposite, effortlessly arising out of the topic at hand. No in-your-face pyrotechnics, no shouting-at-the-top-of-his-lungs declamation; just beautiful, reasoned, nuanced articulation of the highest order.
One might say he's mellowed in a similar way to Joe Henderson in his latter years (although he sounds almost nothing like him). One thing I love about his playing is his gorgeous vibrato. What makes it stand out is his ability to use it with absolute judiciousness all the while making it sound entirely natural. I would venture to say that of all living saxophone players (save, perhaps, Pharoah Sanders) he has the most distinctive approach to his instrument.
A note about his bandmates, Hank Jones (piano), George Mraz (double-bass), and Paul Motian (drums). All, of course, are first-rate jazz musicians. Of the three, Lovano has played most with Motian, having been a long-time member of his trio. This familiarity enables the two to achieve an instrumental simpatico among the most brilliant in the history of jazz. Motian and Lovano, seemingly effortlessly, enact an elaborate dancing back-and-forth vibe that marks these proceedings as something entirely special. Lovano has also played quite a bit with Mraz, always a player of impeccable taste, timing, and timbre. Hank Jones, of the brothers Jones, lifts this session into the stratosphere. A wise and canny choice for the piano chair, Jones seems to have lost none of his magic touch as accompanist and solo performer, desite his advanced years. Although he and Lovano haven't played together much, Jones brings such a deep knowledge of the entire history of jazz to this session that he always seems ready with the absolutely appropriate move be it in a comping or solo capacity.
A note about the production. This disc was recorded live to two-track analog tape. No headphones. No elaborate tweaking of the sound image. Not that I'm necessarily opposed to such procedures; it's just that this kind of stripped down auditory approach only works with players of the absolute highest accomplishment, and often falls flat unless everyone is absolutely on and into it. Thankfully, these players are, and the results more than justify the risks of such a high-wire approach. What you get is the warmth and immediacy of an intimate club date without the (often) compromised sound and annoying audience interaction.
I'm entirely taken by this spectacular disc, certainly the best from Lovano in many years, and perhaps his best ever. Do give it a listen.
In my younger years I would incessantly make fun of my father for his gargantuan jazz CD collection, his nerdy mess-organization, and his defense of his passion, "you don't have the aesthetic appreciation to understand this music." While it was all part of his sense of humor, and he was joking at least in part, there was a huge amount of truth to his facetious saying.
Jazz is like coffee, or cigarettes, or old scotch. It is an acquired taste, and every person has his or her own preferences.
However, there are generational gaps of preference. Lovano, for the most part, is straight up for the baby boomers. His sax is mellow, his tone thick and sultry, breathy and creamy. His style is patient and minimal, subtle and quaint, uneventful like a slow moving train.
The percussion in this CD reminds me of Larry Mullin with U2, definitely not sound-wise, but tempo and contribution-wise. There are no fancy fills, no snazzy high hat tricks, just plain ambient classic jazz drums. The rest of the group all plays their parts, but again, Lovano is the central attraction here.
I STILL LOVE THIS CD SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY. I DON'T KNOW, I CAN'T UNDERSTNAD WHY I DIDN'T LIKE CLAM CHOWDER UNTIL I WAS 20 . . .
Lovano draws awfully close to Pharoah Sanders in tone here. A couple songs sound like he really spent some time keeping the sound raw in the studio and not doctoring it too much. The pay-off is huge. If you like mellow, predictable, tone rich jazz, then this CD was tailored specifically for your tastes.
4 and ½ stars.
Much of "I'm All for You" is a reflection on the romanticism of great tenor-men of yore. The album opens with the title track, an homage to the iconic Coleman Hawkins recording of Body and Soul. Later, Lovano offers a nod to Stan Getz with "Early Autumn," the song that made Getz a star with the Woody Herman band decades before Lovano took a chair in Herman's Thundering Herd. And though the album is devoted to ballads, Lovano closes the program with one of Coltrane's most supercharged burners, "Countdown." Lovano cuts the tempo by more than half, and though the tune still isn't a ballad per se, it is so leisurely by contrast to the original, that it fits in perfectly with the relaxed atmosphere of the disc.
At the keyboard is one of the last of the true greats of jazz, Hank Jones, whose playing combines the urbanity of Teddy Wilson with the modern jazz harmonies of Thelonious Monk. Jones may not be as nimble as he once was, but his playing is more wise and wistful than ever. Worth the price of admission is a moment in Jones' solo on "Like Someone in Love" when he slips into a gentle stride that, just in the left hand alone, paints an achingly beautiful picture of the last dancers on the floor.
Lovano has a quirky and elliptical lyricism. The melodies he creates are unpredictable, but no less melodic for their unexpected turns and jogs. And then there is his tone, gauzy and soft-edged like something from a half-remembered dream. Many notes fall away with that gentle sigh Ben Webster gave phrases when he was in a boudoir frame of mine. And yet, the music never flags or grows sleepy, as Lovano's playing is always alive with the anxious, searching quality of John Coltrane's best work.
So described, the virtues in Lovano's music might seem contradictory. But such apparent contradictions have often been the energy source for the best in jazz. The great musicians of jazz's golden age created music that was at the same time intellectually serious and unabashedly beautiful. Lovano has rediscovered that creative tension - no doubt in part because of his collaboration here with Jones, who never lost it. The record is a perfect balance of new and old, of the ascetic and the romantic. "I'm All for You" is what modern jazz can, and should, be all about.