July 13, 2024

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CD review: Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi Trio Tapestry – Our Daily Bread 2023: Video, CD cover

Trio Tapestry’s discography! Led by the extraordinary saxophonist Joe Lovano, who remains the sole composer for this spiritual musical endeavor, the trio is completed by the resourceful pianist Marilyn Crispell and the enigmatic drummer Carmen Castaldi. They give the best expression to eight new selections that advocate the same freedom and abandonment of those presented in former recordings.

“All Twelve” evolves in a 12-tone context with perspicuity in the interplay. I feel it as a dawning peace, whose rubato manner enhances the celestial latitude that defines Lovano’s originals. That said, you can still find piano and saxophone lines in tandem near completion. The following track, “Grace Notes” is an example of spiritual elevation and force in the style of Coltrane. There’s no bass in this project but Crispell provides a hypnotic low-pitched rumination with her left hand, ideal for Lovano’s blistering work out on tarogato. The instrument’s special tone and the improviser’s prayerful intonations make this magnificent modal burner the most expansive on the album. It ends as it started, with Castaldi offering gentle drumming.

“Le Petit Opportun” is a beautiful ballad delivered as a sax-piano duet. It is harmonically palpable and melodically compelling, just like the gracious title track, where intimate lyricism appears in every little touch by the threesome.

If the trio takes the title “The Power of Three”  literally by also providing triplets while exploring within a circumspect mood in tempo rubato, then “Crystal Ball” passes a pastoral air loosened up by free and airy drumming. There’s a solo saxophone tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden, with whom Lovano played in the last phase of his Liberation Music Orchestra and in Paul Motian’s On Broadway standards project.

Although not as strong as in their two previous outings, Trio Tapestry’s jazz spirituality is crafted with nice details.

The latest album from saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry has almost no pulse but plenty of heart and soul.

“Our Daily Bread,” released Friday, is post-free jazz in a chamber setting, and absorbing despite the lack of a bass or beat. Lovano’s eight original compositions leave plenty of space for individual explorations by the sax man, drummer Carmen Castaldi and pianist Marilyn Crispell, even when they’re all playing at the same time.

Look elsewhere for swing, torrents of notes or chord changes. There is momentum to the music, however, as the trio pushes jazz forward, using silence as an instrument to build space between the players and what they play. The result is a set of tunes that float, undulating and unhurried, creating a mood of reflection but also liberation.

Lovano’s minimalist meditations include the flowing and lyrical title cut, which almost finds a steady rhythm, and the chromatic “All Twelve,” framed by an angular, edgy melody. Graceful interplay drives the romantic sax-piano duet “Le Petit Opportun,” and Lovano’s golden tenor tone is especially moving on “One for Charlie,” a slow, sad solo in tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden.

On the final cut, “Crystal Ball,” Crispell falls into unison with Lovano, whose last note is perhaps the album’s longest, as if he’s reluctant to let go. This challenging music is worth lingering over.

On the final cut, “Crystal Ball,” Crispell falls into unison with Lovano, whose last note is perhaps the album’s longest, as if he’s reluctant to let go. This challenging music is worth lingering over.

Track Listing

1 All Twelve 4:36
2 Grace Notes 08:42
3 Le Petit Opportun 03:44
4 Our Daily Bread 06:34
5 One for Charlie 02:31
6 The Power of Three 04:41
7 Rhythm Spirit 05:50
8 Crystal Ball 04:09

This image released by ECM shows "Our Daily Bread" by Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry. (ECM via AP)

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