Named after Wayne Shorter's classic composition "Footprints," the Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas quintet Sound Prints is a collaborative ensemble born out of the duo's involvement in the 2008 SFJAZZ Collective's tribute concert to legendary jazz saxophonist Shorter. Inspired to continue the creative spark they ignited at that event, saxophonist Lovano and trumpeter Douglas conceived of a group that would play original compositions, as well as new material from Shorter. The group's 2015 concert album, Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, showcases their debut appearance at the famed jazz event. Joining Lovano and Douglas here are pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Joey Baron. That each of these musicians could easily lead their own band only adds to Sound Prints' depth as an ensemble. However, rather than coming off as a jazz supergroup, Sound Prints feel like an organic unit of like-minded individuals working toward creating something new. Along with the palpable Shorter influence, they also recall the ruminative experimentalism of the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and his 5tet from the early '90s. To these ends, cuts like the fractured title track and the rambunctious, stream of conscious "Weatherman," combine the free bop of Ornette Coleman's '60s quartet with the expressive earthiness of Douglas' own work with his Tiny Bell Trio. Similarly, the evocative, bluesy "Spirits" brings to mind late-'60s Miles Davis, while the Latin-esque "Power Ranger" recalls latter-day John Coltrane. Elsewhere, Douglas and Lovano deliver two previously unheard Shorter pieces with the sultry, introspective "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" and the languid "Destination Unknown." Ultimately, Sound Prints walk the line between muscular, tangible post-bop and free-flowing, avant-garde playing; a tantalizing dance that never fails to leave an impression.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar