Album review

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry – ‘Our Daily Bread’

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry – Our Daily Bread

(ECM Records – ECM 2777/4877746. Album review by Graham Spry)

Joe Lovano has, quite simply, been one of America’s most accomplished tenor saxophonists for over 40 years, and after a long stint on Blue Note he mostly records on ECM Records where his style is now more than ever at home. Our Daily Bread is the third record by his group Trio Tapestry whose other members are pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi. Crispell has released many excellent records as a leader on ECM Records and like Lovano is a truly outstanding composer and improviser. Crispell and Lovano also have in common a history of performing with the late Paul Motian whose impressionistic style of percussion—where he hardly ever resorts to a steady beat—has echoes in Castaldi’s playing. So Trio Tapestry in effect continues this earlier tradition of understated but adventurous jazz music.

As with Trio Tapestry’s previous two albums, Our Daily Bread is a collection of spacious and lyrical tunes that Lovano has composed specifically for these same three musicians. Lovano’s short liner notes are assembled from the titles of the eight tunes in an attempt to describe the album’s music which he says is inspired by ‘the spirituality in improvisation’ and the ‘Rhythm Spirit of expression’. In general, although the tunes have plenty of melody and harmony, they reward deep rather than casual listening. For instance, the opening track “All Twelve”, as the title suggests, is based on the 12-tone compositional method, which although not at all swinging has a delightful yearning quality. And music that encompasses classical as well as jazz traditions sits well with the musical sensibilities of both Crispell and Castaldi.

This yearning feel is also conveyed in “Grace Notes” and the title track “Our Daily Bread” which both have a quality evocative of John Coltrane’s style of spiritual jazz. The tune “One For Charlie” is a heartfelt tenor saxophone solo where Lovano pays tribute to the late Charlie Haden with whom he performed on innumerable occasions. “The Power Of Three” is a gently exploratory celebration of the three musicians somehow working together but hardly at all in harmony. On “Rhythm Spirit” there is rather more spirituality than rhythm and “Crystal Ball” is a soothing closer to the album that never actually arrives at an obvious conclusion and perhaps promises that this isn’t Trio Tapestry’s last word.

Sadly the band has no plans to tour outside of the United States, but those who have been lucky enough to see Lovano perform know that he is a genial and avuncular figure on stage, happy to incline to almost all styles of jazz. Our Daily Bread, however,expresses a somewhat introspective ambience, even more so than on Trio Tapestry’s previous two albums. Although this is an album where Lovano is performing as an equal part of a trio, it is best listened to as a personal musical statement that demonstrates how much spirituality and depth of feeling there is within his commanding frame.

LINK: Our Daily Bread at Proper

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