Sunday, September 1, 2013

Joe Lovano Sonata Suite for the Brussels Jazz Orchestra Wild Beauty Half Note 2013

Joe Lovano turns in his finest if not most accessible performance to date.
Brent Black /

The music of Joe Lovano is not unlike an improvisational box of chocolates, all are pretty good with some being exceptionally better than others. This analogy may be the politically correct way of saying while genuinely in awe of his amazing artistic gift, I have left many recordings somewhat underwhelmed as they were occasionally a tad all over the place with no real lyrical cohesion one could hang their hat on. Wild Beauty would be the Sonata Suite for the Brussels Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano.

Sonata Suite is produced by Lovano along with Frank Vaganee and Jeff Levenson and is somewhat of a conceptualized melodic travel guide charting the Lovano family history. From a compositional standpoint, Joe Lovano is focused and the tunes contain that lyrical sense of urgency that immediately engages an audience. The Brussels Jazz Orchestra may arguably be the finest jazz orchestra in the world with the notable exception of the Metropole Orkest. The opening and title composition "Wild Beauty" may indeed be the seminal performance from Lovano. The syncopated pop of Powerhouse could double as the new sound for modern big band arranging and the Leonard Bernstein flavor of "Street of Naples" is captivating. In splitting critical hairs a case could be made that the release could be too good if you stretch the parameters of orchestral work to the outer reaches. The shifting dynamics can be so abrupt as to strip the melodic transmission of some while the arrangements of Gil Goldstein elevate some lesser tunes and on occassion overshadow the performance of Lovano on others.

Pushing some understandable hyper criticism to the back burner this is Joe Lovano's organic Blues and The Abstract Truth. Wild Beauty is indeed a special recording. Memorable? Taste is subjective with the James Carter recording Caribbean Rhapsody considered the benchmark by many. Sonata Suite is a musical autobiography that would be a delightful addition to any library.

4 Stars.

All tenor solos by Joe Lovano except additional tenor solo by Kurt Van Herck on "Viva Caruso."

The Brussels Jazz Orchestra