Joe Locke Trio

Very Early

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One rarely gets to hear trio dates led by vibraphonists that don't feature piano, reeds, or brass, but Joe Locke has the confidence and the chops to succeed. With veteran bassist Ron McClure and drummer Adam Nussbaum providing strong support, Locke chooses four standards which have been recorded countless times by jazz artists, and the trio gives each of them a fresh sound. The stunning "You Don't Know What Love Is" is surprisingly relaxed for a first take, making it seem like this was a seasoned working group. Locke's dreamy solo introduction sets up his lush arrangement of "I Loves You, Porgy," while Nussbaum's rhythmic support and opening solo add to the mystery of "Nature Boy," and "My Favorite Things" is slowly savored like a fine cognac by the trio. Three pieces written by jazz pianists are included: Bill Evans' popular but tricky waltz "Very Early" is given a very easygoing tempo compared to the runaway pace its composer often favored; although Richie Beirach's haunting ballad "Leaving" and McCoy Tyner's brisk early post-bop composition "Effendi" aren't as well known, the trio's stimulating renditions should inspire others to explore these hidden gems. This is one of Joe Locke's best releases from the 1990s.

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