|Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano. Copenhagen 2012. Photo Geoff Countryman from Geenleaf Music|
Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas – Soundprints
(Ronnie Scott’s October 18th, first night of two. Review by Sebastian Scotney)
In the corporate world and in business schools there is an endless debate as to whether a dual CEO arrangement can ever work. (if I’ve put you off with this irrelevance read Ivan Hewett’s succinct and spot-on review – or John Fordham’s thoughtful five-star-er ).Perhaps, as in many areas of life, jazz can be allowed to lead the way, and show how unselfishness and respect can make things work. The mutual trust between Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas is palpable. They both compose for this band, they introduce each other generously, each listens intently to what the other plays, but above all they leave space. In fact Joe Lovano’s playing in this band gives true expression to that phrase of the veteran baroque ‘cellist and teacher Anner Bylsma: ” a rest is never nothing.” Lovano built a whole solo around rests. When he chose – theatrically, at the last split-second – to leave another idea unsaid rather than said, you could see the expression of sheer glee light up his face. It makes the listener appreciate all the more the sheer presence and humanity of his saxophone sound as it returns.
Equally, completely at home in this setting, Dave Douglas gives the impression of playing what he needs to play, saying what he needs to say, and then handing over to another member of the band whom he respects. That warmth is the governing principle, and it absolutely works.
The three rhythm section players also stay as strong individuals, but catch that same collective spirit. Pianist Lawrence Fields prefers delicate,unshowy, subtle expression. utterance. Much talked-about bass-player Linda Oh is precisely the phenomenon which the musician buzz has been promising. Bassists normally get taught that the left hand has to “shift”. Linda Oh’s left hand doesn’t shift, it flies. It as if the hand can simultaneously be in all places at once. And her sense of enjoying both her own and her colleagues’ playing was infectious. Drummer Joey Baron is unmatchable in creativity, in presence, in responsiveness.
The support band led by Jim Mullen brought a rare treat. It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty to salute the presence of pianist John Critchinson, who worked in Ronnie’s quartet for more than a quarter of a century. How wonderful, WONDERFUL to find him on Thursday right back where he belongs behind the pillar at Ronnie’s. Pure delight.