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Joe Locke

Joe Locke

It was hard to keep up with vibist Joe Locke in 2000. A flurry of activity as both a leader and sideman qualified him for the title of Hardest-Working Man in Mallets last year.

Locke ended 1999 on an exceptionally high note with Cecil Taylor’s quartet: a weeklong engagement at Yoshi’s in the Bay Area. The vibist’s intensely physical, push-the-envelope approach to the instrument, along with his extraordinary stamina, must have appealed to Cecil’s own uncanny sensibilities as Joe next found himself going toe-to-toe with Taylor in a series of duet concerts at the Orvieto festival in Italy. As Locke recalls, “Those two gigs with Cecil were very different situations. The quartet music we had long rehearsals for and we put a lot of time into the conception of each tune. And the duo stuff in January was no discussion whatsoever. We hit the stage and just played spontaneous improvisation with nothing to refer to but the sound itself, for like an hour and a half each night.”

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