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Live in Seattle

Artist: Joe Locke

Date of Release: 18/07/2006

Catalogue no: Origin 82464

Label: Origin Records

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Van Gogh By Number

7.24

2

listen

Honu

7.19

3

listen

Fractured

11.04

4

listen

Native Son

6.38

5

listen

Miramar

10.27

6

listen

Tulipa

7.05

7

listen

The King (for T.M.)

6.44

 

 

 

 

Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group: "Live in Seattle"

The Joe Locke /Geoffrey Keezer Quartet is a powerhouse of a group. Since both musicians had independent, well-established careers before teaming up, their names vie for top billing.

On vibraphone, Joe Locke is a worthy successor to past vibe masters Bobby Hutcherson and Milt Jackson. His releases over the past two decades, first as a sideman, then as leader, showcase his talent for playing with both lyrical beauty and incredible speed. Geoffrey Keezer was a piano prodigy who joined Art Blakey's famed Jazz Messengers at the tender age of 17. He has worked with virtually all of the living legends of jazz and has appeared on countless recordings both as a leader and as a side man.

The unique combination of vibraphone and piano creates a space much larger than the sum of its parts -- one in which these two brilliant improvisers and clever accompanists can really get down to work. When Locke lays down the full, ringing tones of his vibraphone, Keezer takes off at full throttle; and when Keezer's sophisticated spatial sense launches chords, Locke works his four mallets with fiery skill. Even when navigating tricky chord progressions at rocket speeds, they never lose their deep sense of swing.

The quartet's releases from the last two years, are melodically rich and endlessly inventive. Live, though, they are on another level altogether. Keezer and Locke not only play each other's nimble and lyrical compositions, but seem to think each other's musical thoughts.

The quartet is completed by the incredible talents of drummer Terreon Gully and bassist Mike Pope.

 

Reviews

 

18/07/2006 John Kelman (All About Jazz)

Vibist Joe Locke and keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer have been working together for some time as the New Sound Quartet, which has released two discs in Japan. But while that group—clearly the precursor to this quartet—focused out of necessity on a primarily standards-based repertoire, Live in Seattle provides a far better and more accurate representation of its potential. Featuring three songs each by Locke and Keezer, it’s also further evidence that Locke—along with Stefon Harris and Steve Nelson—is one of the most creative, open-minded and forward-thinking vibraphonists on the scene today.

The same can be said for the rest of the group, in particular Keezer, whose recent Wildcrafted: Live at the Dakota (MaxJazz, 2005) was a powerful document of his growing skills as improviser, composer and bandleader. His innate understanding of technology makes for a totally organic integration. And his writing—like Locke’s—often places demands on both the players and listeners, but avoids complex constructs that exist merely for their own sake.

Bassist Mike Pope—heard recently on Bill Bruford’s Earthworks Underground Orchestra (Summerfold, 2006)—provides an unshakable anchor. He's flexible enough to provide gentle support on Locke’s evocative ballad “Miramar,” and play more assertively on Keezer’s funk/reggae-informed “Tulipa.”

When speaking about the recent Montreal Jazz Festival’s Suono Italia series, the increasingly ubiquitous Terreon Gully referred to it as “polite,” and there’s certainly nothing polite about his role here. During Keezer’s solo on “Van Gogh by Numbers,” the drummer proves himself more than just capable of responding to his surroundings, instead suggesting ideas rhythmically that elicit melodic responses. But as dominant as Gully is, he doesn’t dominate. This is a quartet of collaboration, not of self-promotion.

Compare this version of “Van Gogh By Numbers” with the one on Van Gogh by Numbers (Wire Walker, 2006), Locke’s mallet duo disc with marimba player Christos Rafalides. The title track was a detailed chamber piece—powerful in its own way, but also more delicate and ethereal. On Live in Seattle, with Pope and Gully, it becomes a fervent piece that approaches the energy of fusion, but without the excess.

There may be clearly delineated and impressive soloing throughout the hour-long set—Keezer and Locke deliver frenzied yet focused solos during the hard-swinging middle section of Locke’s uptempo closer “The King (For T.M.)”—but what’s most striking is how the quartet seems to breathe as a single entity.

On the one cover—James Taylor’s anti-war song “Native Son,” where Gully’s military-style drumming sets up the mood perfectly—the quartet manages to retain its emotional ambiguity and moral simplicity while turning the piece into a vehicle for one of Locke’s most lyrical solos of the set.

Arranging to record a concert always creates the hope for one of those special performances where everything gels perfectly. Live in Seattle captures the Locke/Keezer Group on one such occasion, finally realizing the fully contemporary potential of this ongoing collaboration.

Visit Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer on the web.


Track listing: Van Gogh By Numbers; Honu; Fractured; Native Son; Miramar; Tulipa; The King (For T.M.).

Personnel: Joe Locke: vibes; Geoffrey Keezer: piano, keyboards; Mike Pope: acoustic and electric bass; Terreon Gully: drums.

 

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