Joe Lovano tenor saxophone, tarogato, gongs
Marilyn Crispell piano
Carmen Castaldi drums, percussion
Recorded March 2018 at Sear Sound, New York
Engineer: Chris Allen
Mixing: July 2018 at Studios La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro (engineer), Manfred Eicher, and Joe Lovano
Mastering: Nicolas Baillard
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: January 25, 2019
After decades of appearing on ECM as sideman, Joe Lovano makes his leader debut for the label. Bearing the gift of 11 original compositions built around 12-tone processes, the saxophonist celebrates life and creativity with a new trio, welcoming pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi into New York’s Sear Sound studio. The result is one of the most intimate jazz experiences to come out from the label in years.
The gongs on “One Time In” process as if grieving for silence, itself so rare a commodity in today’s world that it’s all we can do to seek out a musical experience as enmeshed in stillness as this. The effect is such that when the piano rains down on “Seeds Of Change,” we’ve already become accustomed to melody as a reflection of what quivers between the notes. So much of what follows reminds us that, in art, form and function need not ever be the same. For if the breathy poetry of “Sparkle Lights” and “Tarrassa” are indicative of something tangible, they’re equally aligned to something diffuse.
At times, as in “Piano/Drum Episode” and “Gong Episode,” gestures are as literal as can be, and yet also ineffable. At others, as in “Mystic,” the feeling is so mysterious as to be undeniably immediate. The latter tune features Lovano on the Hungarian tarogato, a mournful woodwind that blows aside the curtains of the future like gusts from the past. Crispell and Castaldi are in finest form in “Rare Beauty” and “Spirit Lake,” either of which might aptly describe the mood of what we’re hearing. The pianist understands that every note has the potential to become a sutra, while the drummer fills the air with diacritical markings. How glorious, then, that all of this should culminate in “The Smiling Dog,” a freely explosive romp through streets paved in grainy night.
Trio Tapestry is the essence of atmosphere as substance and the soundtrack of things unseen, singing in honor of those without songs.