Kids: Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca–Cola (Blue Note Records)

Joe Lovano and Hank Jones

Released May 8, 2007

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group 2008

Grand Prix de l’Académie du Jazz 2007

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About:

Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Hank Jones make for a perfect combination on this set of live duets. They had played together on an occasional basis for the two years prior to this project, collaborating on the Joyous Encounter recording. Jones has a timeless style that since 1944 has been a transitional approach between swing and bop. His two-handed playing makes it possible for him to be an entire rhythm section by himself, so one does not miss the bass and drums. Lovano, one of the most versatile of all saxophonists, fits easily into this format, coming across as a major modern swing stylist, paying respect to the melodies while also adding his own individual sound to the music. In addition to their duets, Jones has a pair of individual features (including “Oh! Look at Me Now!”) and Lovano gets to stretch out a bit on the more boppish numbers. Although the team of Joe Lovano and the ageless Hank Jones was not inevitable, it has proven to be an ideal matchup between two giants of jazz. Recommended. This CD was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy award as Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Individual or Group,) and the improvisation by Jones on “Lullaby” was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.

Track Listing:

1. Lady Luck 8:34

2. Charlie Chan (Joe Lovano) 5:37

3. Lullaby (Hank Jones) 8:08

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Performance 2008

4. Little Rascal on a Rock (Thad Jones) 6:35

5. Budo 4:05

6. Soultrane (Tadd Dameron) 7:33

7. Kids Are Pretty People (Thad Jones) 7:34

8. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ 4:19

9. Oh! Look at Me Now! 2:46

10. Four in One (Thelonious Monk) 5:54

11. Lazy Afternoon 8:27

Personnel:

Joe Lovano: saxophones 
Hank Jones: piano

Recorded live on April 27 & 28, 2006 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City
Recorded and mixed at the XM Radio-Jazz at Lincoln Center Recording Studios

Producer: Joe Lovano, Michael Cuscuna  

Engineer: Rob Macomber

Cover Art: Bill Commerford

Art Direction: Carla Leighton

Review:

Early jazz is often music of joy and playfulness—it’s no wonder the great cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s are often backed by a classic jazz soundtrack. Now that jazz has become “art and “music of significance, joy and playfulness are too often missing from performances. It is a pleasure, then, that Kids: Duets Live at Dizzy’s, a collaboration between Joe Lovano on tenor and soprano sax and Hank Jones on piano, revives the waning art of joyful jazz.

Kids may lack some of the emotional power of Art Pepper’s final recordings with George Cables, Goin’ Home and Téte-à’Téte, (both Original Jazz Classics, 1982) or Stan Getz’ last recording with Kenny Barron, People Time (Verve, 1992). These were each colored by the sax players’ awareness of their own impending mortality. But Kids has plenty of the brilliant play and artistic partnership of these predecessor piano/sax duos, and the audience at Dizzy’s responds enthusiastically.

The cross-fertilization between generations works well here. Jones will be ninety in July 2008, while Lovano is still in his mid-fifties; but both share a love of traditional jazz, demonstrated on their previous quartet albums for Blue Note, I’m All for You (2004) and Joyous Encounter (2005). Jones seems to be channeling the ghosts of Fats Waller or Art Tatum with his glittering runs on the album’s opener, “Lady Luck, or his stride play on the solo, “Oh! Look at Me Now! Still, Jones follows Lovano’s lead gleefully on the saxophonist’s more bop-ish original, “Charlie Chan and the classic “Budo.

There are other pleasures on the album: Lovano’s lyrical work on “Soultrane is one, the prickly Monk tune “Four in One another. Jones transforms “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ from hoary standard into meditative tone poem. Thad Jones’ “Kids Are Pretty People is an engaging vehicle for the pair to amble through some bluesy solo and duo work. The album ends with a lovely cover of “Lazy Afternoon. The slightly melancholy take by clarinetist Ken Peplowski and Jones (on celeste and piano) from Jones’ Lazy Afternoon, (Concord, 1989.) contrasts with Lovano and Jones’ version, which offers a leisurely conversation between old friends; a perfect conclusion to an enjoyable live set.

Paul Moots (All About Jazz)