The 36th of Jon Turney’s weekly selections features a thrilling encounter between two great horn players.
Joe Lovano’s long tenure with Blue Note mostly produced studio recordings, but they had to do a live one at the Vanguard, didn’t they? And a great one it is.
The freer-wheeling quartet on the first of 2 CDs stands out. Billy Hart on drums is spectacular, Anthony Cox on bass hardly less so. And there’s Tom Harrell, a marvellous improviser and a match for Lovano in every way.
A couple of the Lovano compositions are as close to the sound of Old and New Dreams as anyone got after that incomparable group disbanded. This, which closes the CD, is one of them.
That’s about the lolloping theme, the way all four work together, and the way the drums aerate the sound as the horns take off. Lovano goes first, all bustle and attack, Harrell following with a determined effort to deliver a motivic improvisation, Hart and Cox following every twist and turn. I don’t think this band played together again: listening now, I wish they had.