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Sound of Love

Various Artists

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Album Review

This live 1995 recording from New York's Village Vanguard club features drummer Paul Motian, guitarist Bill Frisell, and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano turning in a stellar set of jazz covers and Motian originals (this is the same trio the drummer led in the late '80s and recorded high-profile tributes to Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Tin Pan Alley with). As the premium sound quality of the recording makes clear, this trio had an almost telepathic rapport on stage, inspiring each other in both ensemble playing and solo flights. This kind of hand-in-glove chemistry is certainly due in part to the group's many stints on the road, but also comes from the individual player's complimentary styles: Frisell and Lovano (albeit less subtly) both dig into the structure of the songs, producing clever and dynamic statements, while Motian contains the proceedings with his steady, yet elastic time keeping and provocative accents. The covers here include extended readings of Monk's "Misterioso" and Charles Mingus' beautiful ballad "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love," in addition to a loose and bittersweet rendition of the jazz standard "Good Morning Heartache." Motian balances out the set with originals like the thorny, Latin rhythms-based "Mumbo Jumbo," the lightly swinging waltz number "Once Around the Park," and the dark-hewn, yet beguiling closer "Play." This is a great recording of some of the best jazz combo playing from the '80s to 2000. For Motian newcomers, though, the best bet is to first get one of this group's studio-recorded repertoire titles (Monk in Motian, Bill Evans, On Broadway) before checking out this sprawling live release.

Sound of Love
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