Joe Locke

Slander (And Other Love Songs)

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"Song for Cables" opens this album with a hard-driving complexity that instantly grabs the listener, with Billy Childs punching out a powerful McCoy Tyner chordal bed over which vibist Locke struts his stuff. From this auspicious beginning, Slander moves through a wide range of moods and tempos. "Saturn's Child" is a beautiful ballad, while Stevie Wonder's "Tuesday Heartbreak" is performed in an arrangement reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's treatment of contemporary material on The New Standard. In the hands of Locke and Childs, Joni Mitchell's "Blue" is surprisingly effective as a jazz ballad. The set-closing "Second Story Man" takes a straight-ahead ride on electric piano and vibes. Electric guitarist Vic Juris is featured on several cuts, establishing himself as an impressive presence. Locke's originals offer attractive melodies and interesting rhythmic shifts, and the group works well together throughout this highly recommended recording.

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