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Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival

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Sound Prints’ co-leaders, saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas, both solo on the band’s debut album, Live at Monterey Jazz Festival. But the real meat of the recording, and of the band, is their interplay: harmony, counterpoint, call-and-response. It’s not what one might expect from a project inspired by Wayne Shorter. But Sound Prints is less about Shorter’s individual style than his audacity and innovation, and on those fronts Live triumphs.

Shorter’s daring can be heard in the bite-sized “Weatherman,” whose barely-there melody takes up half the track’s running time. In the remaining 40 seconds, Lovano and Douglas-along with pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Joey Baron-cram in as much deconstruction and abstraction as they possibly can, then slowly coalesce again into the funky “Power Ranger.” On the (much longer) latter cut, the horns pull out all the stops: They duel on the head; Douglas rambles and expectorates, quasi-lyrically; Lovano throws his brawny sound around; and both players return to the head for more energetic counterpoint. (Oh and Baron add to the fire with a warm, welcoming solo and a melodic percussive breakdown.)

That said, the band does grapple musically with Shorter: Two of the tunes, “Destination Unknown” and “To Sail Beyond the Sunset,” are new Shorter compositions. “Sail” is the album’s best, built around a short clarion call from Douglas that sees repeated variations by him and Lovano, together and separately, plus a gorgeous, deceptively complex solo from Fields. Shorter sneaks into the principals’ tunes, too. Douglas’ “Sprints” recalls not only the chord structure and Miles Davis Quintet-like arrangement of “Footprints”; the trumpeter also quotes that standard, and “Orbits,” in his solo. In all cases, however, the band makes Shorter’s ideas wholly their own, adds its own considerable ideas on top, and does so with relish.

Listen to or download this album at iTunes.

Originally Published