Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas step up with Sound Prints at the Village vanguard

Joe Lovano remarked that "it was the end of an era" as he and the Sound Prints quintet he co-leads with Dave Douglas launched into a week at the Village Vanguard in NYC on 12 June. Days earlier the Vanguard's matriarch Lorraine Gordon had passed away aged 95, hence Lovano's comment. Gordon, who, after divorce from Blue Note records co-founder Alfred Lion, married Village Vanguard owner Max Gordon in 1949 (the club opened in 1935), had been actively involved with management of the Vanguard until late 2012, the year she earned an NEA JazzMasters honour. Just after 9/11 I spoke to her for my then running Jazzwise column 'Stars and Stripes', where she talked about how the New York jazz community were dealing with the fallout from the disaster. She was an acerbic, principled woman and a lifelong, committed jazz fanatic.

Without further fanfare – Gordon was a stickler for sets starting promptly – Lovano and Douglas dramatically commenced their set on the tight stage in the wedge shaped corner of this tiny, hallowed venue, with contrapuntal, antiphonal, unaccompanied horns. The two leaders alternated original compositions with settings of Wayne Shorter classics (a Douglas arrangement of 'Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum' and Lovano's recasting of 'Juju') starting with the trumpeter's 'Dream State' – the lead-off track from their recommended recent release Scandal. Counterweighting the lines of trumpet and straight tenor were a consistent feature of the intensely interwoven music which was stoked with relevance and energy by the redoubtable Joey Baron, one of the most valuable jazz drummers since Billy Higgins. Also superb was the insistent timing, rich tone and concentrated ideas of bassist Linda May Han Oh, who had picked up the gong for bassist of the year at the Jazz Journalists' Awards a couple of hours earlier.

St Louis-born pianist and former Berklee student of Lovano, not to mention a tall drink of water, was Lawrence Fields, whose rangy fingers maintained a dancing pulse and chordal architecture reminiscent, at intervals, of Herbie Hancock. Despite impassioned solos from all, it was the tunes that held the night, more so the originals than the Wayne arrangements, notably Douglas' memorable 'Ups and Downs'. The latter, a lilting ballad, began with an impressionistic descending/ascending line from the tenor with contrary motion harmonization from trumpet, beautifully buoyed by the rhythm section. Other Douglas odes that stood out were the eponymous CD title track, more mournful than scandalous per se, a sad paean to these politically messed up times, which featured bulbous muted trumpet and sighing, controlled cynicism from Lovano. At a similar dirge-like tempo was 'Libra', an arresting theme with episodic changes reminiscent of Shorter's adventurousness, succinctly rendered with a pellucid piano intro. Saliently, and I've noticed this before with the capacious book of John Zorn's Masada, Douglas has all the music memorised before he hits the bandstand.

Sound-Prints 093-2

Lovano's pieces included the cartwheeling 'Full Sun', which also encompassed complementary and asymmetrical horn lines, a tensile bass chorus heralded a burrowing solo from Lovano, holding his ungainly alp horn-like tenor aloft as he dug in. Paired with this in the second set was 'Full Moon' – a more doleful, tidal affair, and a fine feature for the Cleveland saxist's precipitous approach, in which his gorgeous note flurries were held in abeyance, thence released from bluesy reins. More upbeat and permissive of punchy punctuation from Baron were 'High Noon' (which Lovano tackles on G Mezzo Soprano on the CD) and the playful 'Corner Tavern' commemorating a saloon in Milwaukee, which featured a stellar solo from May Han Oh. The bassist wore a stoic expression and meditative mien then occasionally cracked a smile in joyful communication with the more readily grinning Baron. She's been in the band since its debut at the Vanguard in 2012, as have Fields and Baron – the unit grew out of Lovano and Douglas' association with the SFJazz Collective in 2008 and a shared appreciation of Shorter's oeuvre which has expanded to fresh material in that ruminative ilk. Sound Prints, riffing, I'm assuming, on Shorter's 'Footprints' is an intense, compelling unit with a buckled-in agenda, yet the charts, while defined, aren't overly hermetic and work well as a collaborative suite.

In correspondence with longtime club manager Jed Eisenman (who started as a janitor and dishwasher there 37 years ago as a teenager), there's little fear of the Vanguard shuttering anytime soon, since Lorraine's legacy has been handed down to her daughter Deborah. Just in case however, a souvenir band photo was taken for Jazzwise beneath the legendary awning. The upbeat Jed who will remain steadfast as manager, commented about his longtime professional relationship with the late proprietor: "Lorraine Gordon was one of the last of the jazz Mohicans, a Runyonesque character you either loved or hated - for my part I loved her very much."

Story and photos – Michael Jackson

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Gary Bartz with We Out Here, Rob Luft, E…

The latest names announced for this year’s EFG London Jazz...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s Piano Trio Fest returns w…

This year’s edition of the Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio...

Read More.....

Mark Lockheart busts out new jazz-rock Q…

We were getting in at the beginning: the first public...

Read More.....

João Gilberto 10/6/1931 – 6/7/2019

João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, in Brazil in...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Snarky Puppy, SEED Ensemble…

Love Supreme’s seventh year continues its unique strengths, as an...

Read More.....

Countdown to Love Supreme Jazz Festival …

The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is set to open its...

Read More.....

Braxton Sets New Standards At OTO

Following his glorious residency at London’s Cafe OTO in May...

Read More.....

Shai Maestro, Electric Lady Big Band and…

After its successful inaugural year in 2017, the Jazz Leeds...

Read More.....

Chrissie Hynde goes jazz, Blue Note trib…

Some sizable additions have been added to the EFG London...

Read More.....

Zorn blasts through 50 Bagatelles and Sn…

1959 was a good year for fans of Miles, Trane...

Read More.....

Tony Hall: producer, manager and Jazzwis…

It is with huge sadness that we report the death...

Read More.....

Manhattan Comes To Rottingdean

Unexpected pleasures are the best, even for jazz fans, and...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Alexander Bone wins Kenny Wh…

Twenty-two-year old saxophonist Alexander Bone (above) has been announced as...

Read More.....

LA Fusion stars Spirit Fingers fire-up f…

Virtuosic LA jazz-fusion band Spirit Fingers are set for a...

Read More.....

Call The Cops: Jazzers Run Riot At Bruss…

The annual Brussels Jazz Weekend operates on a gargantuan scale...

Read More.....

Hundred Years Gallery Holds Speaker-Thon

The Hundred Years Gallery, a not-for-profit space showcasing free improvisation...

Read More.....

Babelfish swim to Kings Place for Once U…

Acclaimed jazz-folk group Babelfish are set to launch their new...

Read More.....

Michael Janisch kicks out the jams for n…

Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch (above centre) steps back...

Read More.....

Lost Miles Davis Rubberband album snaps …

Rubberband, a previously unissued 1985 album by Miles Davis, is...

Read More.....

Grégoire Tirtiaux and Gratitude Trio lea…

This is a festival where it’s possible to completely miss Kamasi...

Read More.....

Final Bow For The Night Tripper – A Trib…

Refuting the title of his biggest hit, ‘Right Place, Wrong...

Read More.....

Rossano Sportiello rounds out Harriet Co…

For 40 amazing years, the singer Harriet Coleman has presented...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s rolls up to Royal Albert …

Ronnie Scott’s, the iconic London jazz club, will mark its...

Read More.....

Wollny Steals The Night As Moran Breaks …

The first thing to notice were the queues, over 200...

Read More.....

Steam Down, Emma-Jean Thackray and Leafc…

Stroud’s reputation as the alternative hippy hub of the Cotswolds...

Read More.....

Andrew McCormack returns with Graviton: …

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack storms back with the second volume...

Read More.....

Jazz Cafe sax summit kicks off second Lo…

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the London Saxophone...

Read More.....

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@lee_re try @KirkdaleBooks or @booksellercrow
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Our colleagues at @TheJazzCafe have two very fine nights coming up - with US sax don Donny McCaslin and his powerfu… https://t.co/iAJA7gJa6P
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA