1. Van Gogh by Numbers
4. Native Son
7. The King (For T.M.).
Joe Locke – Vibes
Geoffrey Keezer – Piano, keyboards
Mike Pope – Electric and acoustic bass
Terreon Gully – Drums
together two experienced virtuosi at the head
of a jazz quartet and you can hardly fail.
Vibraphonist Joe Locke has displayed his expertise
with Mingus Dynasty and bands led by such
luminaries as Eddie Henderson and Tim Garland.
Pianist Geoffrey Keezer joined Art Blakey’s
Jazz Messengers when he was only 17 and later
became a vital part of Ray Brown’s groups.
Bassist Mike Pope and drummer Terreon Gully
are less well-known, although Gully’s name
keeps cropping up on worthwhile recordings,
so he’s really a musician to watch.
last year at the Ballard Festival in Seattle,
this was the first concert the quartet had
given in the USA, having previously performed
and recorded only in Japan. The line-up is
similar to that of the Modern Jazz Quartet
but the resemblance is only noticeable in
slower numbers like Honu and Miramar,
where you may sense Joe Locke’s admiration
for Milt Jackson. More often the music echoes
the recordings made by vibist Gary Burton
with Chick Corea, not only in the technoflash
brilliance of the playing but also in the
rhapsodic themes the quartet plays.
is evident from the very start of the first
track – a dynamically punchy piece written
by Joe. In fact he and Geoffrey contribute
three tunes each to the album, the only non-original
being James Taylor’s Native Son, which
is introduced by marching drums but given
delicate treatment by Locke and Keezer. For
contrast, the following Tulipa adopts
a reggae rhythm (with the obligatory strong
beat on the third of four). The closing track
is a racing piece of fusion with a Latin tinge
– again sounding very like a Chick Corea invention.
solos from Locke and Keezer are consistently
impressive throughout the album but perhaps
equally impressive is the togetherness of
the quartet, which sounds as if it has been
playing as a unit for decades. And the recorded
sound is superb, conveying the full excitement
of a memorable concert.