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Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart

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The first album here is a quartet date with modest aspirations. In his liner notes, Joe Locke says it “is meant to provide respite for folks who work hard every day and need an opportunity to slow down…” The second album, with a 65-piece symphony orchestra based in Lincoln, Neb., is ambitious by definition. It was released early in 2013 but was initially intended for the orchestra’s subscribers and concert attendees. It is now available at the usual retail and online sources.

The subtitle of the quartet album is Blues & Ballads Vol. 1. Locke and his vibraphone are well qualified for such a program. The instrument’s lush sonorities tend toward melancholy, perfect for blues. Locke is a patient ballad player. His vibrato makes notes of concentrated emotion linger in the air.

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