Joe Lovano: I Waited For You


I Waited For You


Joe Lovano (tenor sax)


I'm All For You (Ballad Songbook) (Blue Note 91950)

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Joe Lovano (tenor sax), Hank Jones (piano), George Mraz (bass), Paul Motian (drums).

Composed by Dizzy Gillespie & Walter Gilbert Fuller


Recorded: New York, June 11-12, 2003


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

It's puzzling how Hank Jones, at age 90, is still sometimes described as a "journeyman" or "veteran sideman." Here is a great pianist with a lengthy 7-decade discography as a leader, a 1989 NEA Jazz Master and a 2008 National Medal of Arts winner, and he's still underappreciated or taken for granted. You need only listen to his three CDs this decade with Joe Lovano to realize what a complete pianist he is, and to hear how he inspires Lovano to perhaps the best mainstream-oriented playing of the latter's notable career so far.

On the first of these CDs, the all-ballad session I'm All For You, Lovano and Jones, buoyed by the sensitive support of Mraz and Motian, perform an unforgettable version of "I Waited for You." As Lovano caresses the alluring theme with a breathy tone containing ingredients of both Ben Webster and Lester Young, Jones's accompaniment is totally in the pocket, every note either skillfully bolstering or simply affirming the saxophonist's thematically based assertions. Lovano's solo is finely detailed and lucidly structured, subtly swinging, and chockfull of apt, and seemingly endless, winding single-note lines. Jones's subsequent solo is Lovano's equal, the pianist's sparkling touch, mesmerizing scampering runs, and overall harmonically rich concept attesting to his formidable proficiency. Lovano returns with a brief improvisational flurry before again expressively delineating the melody. While Motian remains a bit too fixated on a sparse and stagnant cymbal ride at times, this is nonetheless essential listening. And kudos to Dizzy Gillespie the composer to think he wrote this gorgeous tune and "Con Alma"!

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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