Ten Tales (Sunnyside) features the spontaneous outpourings of drummer Aldo Romano and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. Recorded in a Paris studio in 1989, the album parses one 90-minute improvisation into 10 discrete and surprisingly self-contained tracks. Melody is never far from the forefront here, thanks to Lovano's deep lyricism and Romano's easygoing pulse; even their most abstract excursions, like a bristling "Dragons Are," seem rooted in song. Drawing equally from the lexicon of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, Lovano strikes an imploring chord that suffuses the length of the album.
Romano, a longtime Italian in Paris, plays with sharp sensitivity and deep reserves of swing, demonstrating skills somehow still unheralded in the U.S. Ten Tales should not only help his reputation here but also serve to validate the pursuit of free improvisation with a lyrical heart.