Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry
with Marilyn Crisepll & Carmen Castaldi
Beginning with his 1991 album Landmarks—produced by guitarist and his former band mate John Scofield—Joe Lovano produced a steady stream of programmatically diverse albums for the Blue Note label to firmly establish himself as one the premier saxophonists of our time. While the Cleveland native has always been rooted in the fundamentals of post-bop, over the years he’s explored disparate nooks of jazz history, whether imaging himself on 52nd Street at the height of the bebop era, collaborating with Third Stream progenitor and arranger Gunther Schuller, exploring the Frank Sinatra songbook with a big band, or co-leading projects with figures like Greg Osby, Dave Douglas, Hank Jones, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
In recent years he’s revealed a more contemplative side, premiering a concerto written for him by Mark Anthony Turnage and collaborating with introspective European musicians such as pianist Marcin Wasilewski or the great Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava. However, no recent ensemble has been more rewarding than Trio Tapestry, a group with the brilliant, criminally overlooked pianist Marilyn Crispell and the Italian drummer Carmen Castaldi. On two gorgeous albums for ECM the trio has woven a delicate sound that makes stunning use of space. Without the presence of a bassist and benefiting from the pianist’s inventive harmonic conception, Lovano is given generous room to explore with unparalleled intimacy.
Crispell’s tension-fueled dreamscapes can be deceptively pretty, and as The Quietus wrote, “she deftly reinforces the gentle tone without reducing her contributions to a soothing gloss. Instead, her playing creates new openings and injects an aching ambiguity to the proceedings.” On performances that hover and glide, Castaldi plays an outsized role, directing an endlessly changing dance of cymbal play and moody tom patterns. Lovano retains his beautifully marbled tone, but he’s never sounded so thoughtful.