Joe Lovano has done it once again. He has taken on the task of interpreting untimely standards and has created musical magic in the way only he knows how...with brilliance. With legendary pianist Hank Jones by his side, as well as Paul Motian on drums, and the ever-grounded George Mraz on bass, Lovano has indeed come across a Joyous Encounter.
Out of the eleven tunes that are performed, Lovano pays tribute to Hank Jones with Jones' composition, "Consummation." Lovano also pays tribute to Hank Jones' brother Thad, with "Don't Ever Leave Me," "Quiet Lady," and "A Child is Born." There is extra special treatment to Coltrane's "Crescent," Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica," Oliver Nelson's "Six and Four," not to mention two of Lovano's own originals.
Throughout the album there is the sense that one is definitely listening to a tenor master. Lovano is the continued tradition of the tenor saxophone, more so than any other eligible saxophonist alive today. Fifty years from now, the jazz audience will be talking about albums such as this, the way they currently reminisce over albums and solos by Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster. One can definitely hear various influences in Lovano's starkly individual style. There are traces of Hawkins, along with hints of altoist Lee Konitz, not to mention Coltrane. No matter what influences are heard or assessed, Lovano is Lovano.
This album is for anyone who loves traditional jazz at its current pinnacle. If you love classic jazz tenor saxophonists, and you are looking for someone new to try in today's market in order to expand your horizons a bit, then Lovano is your man. With an instantly identifiable sound and phrase, one can tell its Joe Lovano. So, check this album out to let your ears experience a Joyous Encounter.