Joe Locke & David Hazeltine - Mutual Admiration Society 2

album review

Sharp Nine

Release date: June 16th 2009

Availability: CD, MP3 Download

 Joe Locke & David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society 2 cover

More great vibes based jazz as Joe Locke and David Hazeltine record together again just ten years after their original 'Mutual Admiration Society' album for Sharp Nine. The quartet is completed by Essiet Essiet on bass and Billy Drummond on drums, a re-creation of the same band as on the initial album, making this very much a reunion.

The pairing of vibes with piano accompanied by bass and drums inevitably recalls The Modern Jazz Quartet in which Milt Jackson first established the bedrock of cool vibes based jazz. Joe Locke and David Hazeltine come very close to this approach and their album could almost be regarded as a tribute to MJQ, specially on tracks such as MJQ's "Bag's Groove" "The Cylinder" or "Confirmation", for example, as performed at 'The Complete Last Concert' in 1974.

But the quartet for 'Mutual Admiration Society 2' is not as straight ahead and regular blues based as were MJQ. Joe Locke provides modal, very much more non-linear compositions that allow a much greater use of texture, complex rhythm and nuance, a much more advanced approach with corresponding freedom for piano and bass.

The three Joe Locke originals - "Pharoah's Joy", "Convocation" and "What's Not To Love?" - are signature examples of his off-kilter yet suberbly lyrical approach to composition.

Meanwhile, the three David Hazeltine compositions - "Blues For Buddy", "One for Reedy Ree" (written in memory of drummer Tony Reedus, who died in 2008) and "Twelve" - are nearer the mainstream of post bop. "Twelve" and "Blues For Buddy" both have a distinct Chick Corea feel.

The ballad-orientated tracks are provided for by the two non-originals - Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" and Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic".

There is plenty of space for virtuoso and inventive playing from both vibes and piano throughout and the two principals do not disappoint.

Sharp Nine were keen to recreate the success of what had been widely acclaimed as their best jazz album of the past decade; with 'Mutual Admiration Society 2' they surely must have succeeded.

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