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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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JOE LOCKE GEOFFREY KEEZER GROUP

Live in Seattle

Origin 82464

 

 



1. Van Gogh by Numbers
2. Honu
3. Fractured
4. Native Son
5. Miramar
6. Tulipa
7. The King (For T.M.).
Joe Locke – Vibes
Geoffrey Keezer – Piano, keyboards
Mike Pope – Electric and acoustic bass
Terreon Gully – Drums

Put 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.

Recorded 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.

Technoflash 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.

The 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.


Tony Augarde



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