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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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featuring JOE LOVANO

Wild Beauty

Half Note HN 4556



1. Wild Beauty

2. Powerhouse

3. Streets of Naples

4. Our Daily Bread

5. Big Ben

6. Sanctuary Park

7. Miss Etna

8. Viva Caruso


Joe Lovano - Tenor sax

Brussels Jazz Orchestra - Artistic Director: Frank Vaganée

Serge Plume, Nico Schepers, Pierre Drevet, Jeroen van Malderen -Trumpets, flugelhorns

Marc Godfroid, Lode Mertens, Frederik Heirman - Trombones

Laurent Hendrick - Bass trombone, bass tuba

Frank Vaganée - Alto sax, soprano sax

Dieter Limbourg - Alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet, flute

Kurt van Herck - Tenor sax, soprano sax, alto flute

Bart Defoort - Tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet

Bo Van der Werf - Baritone sax, bass clarinet

Hendrik Braeckman - Guitar

Nathalie Loriers - Piano

Jos Machtel - Bass

Toni Vitacolonna - Drums


As I write this review, news has come through that this album has been nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in the 56th Grammy Awards. The Brussels Jazz Orchestra, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is certainly no stranger to success, having played on the Oscar-winning film The Artist and collaborated with such leading composers as Maria Schneider, Dave Liebman, McCoy Tyner and Kenny Wheeler. It is subsidised by the Flemish Government (Arts Council, please note).

Wild Beauty is a collection of eight compositions by Joe Lovano, inspired by his family's Sicilian roots, and arranged into a Sonata Suite by Gil Goldstein. With Lovano leading from the front, it plays like an eight-part concerto for tenor sax and jazz orchestra. Lovano explains in a sleeve-note that the tunes all had a previous life in a small-group setting. In creating the suite, Goldstein has allowed Lovano plenty of scope for free expression within the orchestral arrangements.

Although Lovano's big, booting tenor inevitably dominates proceedings, there are opportunities for some of the orchestra members to emerge from the ensemble. Braeckman contributes an intense guitar solo on the smouldering title track and pianist Loriers is impressively fluent on the calm, reflective Sanctuary Park; Vaganée bubbles away on alto on Miss Etna and practically everyone has a blow on Big Ben, a tribute to Ben Webster whom Lovano revered.

This is a high-class band fronted by a world-class jazz musician. It demands attention and, if it wins a coveted Grammy, it should get plenty.

George Stacy

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