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Review: Lovano’s trio is post-free jazz in a chamber setting

“Our Daily Bread,” Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry (ECM)

The latest album from saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry has almost no pulse but plenty of heart and soul.

“Our Daily Bread,” released Friday, is post-free jazz in a chamber setting, and absorbing despite the lack of a bass or beat. Lovano’s eight original compositions leave plenty of space for individual explorations by the sax man, drummer Carmen Castaldi and pianist Marilyn Crispell, even when they’re all playing at the same time.

Look elsewhere for swing, torrents of notes or chord changes. There is momentum to the music, however, as the trio pushes jazz forward, using silence as an instrument to build space between the players and what they play. The result is a set of tunes that float, undulating and unhurried, creating a mood of reflection but also liberation.

Lovano’s minimalist meditations include the flowing and lyrical title cut, which almost finds a steady rhythm, and the chromatic “All Twelve,” framed by an angular, edgy melody. Graceful interplay drives the romantic sax-piano duet “Le Petit Opportun,” and Lovano’s golden tenor tone is especially moving on “One for Charlie,” a slow, sad solo in tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden.

On the final cut, “Crystal Ball,” Crispell falls into unison with Lovano, whose last note is perhaps the album’s longest, as if he’s reluctant to let go. This challenging music is worth lingering over.

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