Folk Art

Folk Art

Aside from a collective with guitarist Bill Frisell and the late drum great Paul Motian, tenor saxophonist/multi-reedist Joe Lovano is known for a diversity of recording projects (with accompanying ever-changing personnel) and touring bands. Lovano’s surprisingly enduring Us Five group was formed specifically to record Folk Art, which remarkably is his first album of all-original material. The rhythm section is pianist James Weidman, double bassist Esperanza Spalding, and drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III. This 2009 release opens with the breathless “Powerhouse,” which features a mellifluous Weidman solo. The loping title track follows, recalling Thelonious Monk’s angular disposition and showcasing intertwined drum solos between Brown and Mela. The lovely ballad “Song for Judi” was written for his wife, vocalist Judi Silvano, while “Ettenro” (alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s first name spelled backward) concludes Folk Art with an explorative daring that befits the free jazz pioneer.

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