You have to create the song as if you wrote it. That’s what jazz and improvising are really about. That’s Lester Young’s approach and Bird’s, Coleman Hawkins’, Ben Webster’s and also Sarah Vaughan’s and Frank Sinatra’s approach. And that’s my approach as well.
As always, my intent is to be creative, to sustain the mood but to also be rhythmically diverse and free within the music because all tempos are in there. What it means to play a ballad is not to just be playing it slow. It’s feeling all the possibilities in the rhythms, allowing the music to flow.
I chose to record Early Autumn it as a dedication to Woody and Stan and to my early development in this music. It’s a song my dad taught me to introduce me to different ways of playing through different keys. For years, I avoided playing and recording it until this chance to play it with Hank. The time was ripe. We harmonized a bit differently in the turnaround sections and made it more personal. It’s such a strong melody! Every version of it I’ve ever heard plays only on the theme, so my approach was to play more of the theme at the end.
My career as a soloist has been one of the developing conceptions in my playing to fit into varied contexts so I’m free to react within different kinds of moods and energies of different musicians. Basically I’m a soloist so the foundation of my playing comes from playing ballads and to be expressive within any kind of music I play. This is another plateau that is a wide step that I can stand on.
" The tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano works in many forms. He has had a trio with Bill Frisell and Mr. Motian… read more"" The tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano works in many forms. He has had a trio with Bill Frisell and Mr. Motian for 20 years that refashions old jazz standards and originals into weird, hiccuping ad-libbed journeys; on recent albums for Blue Note, he has been dealing with large-ensemble be-bop as well as operatic themes arranged for unusual instrumentation and wordless vocals. But at bottom he’s a soulful, note caressing, tradition loving tenor player, and the music on ‘‘I’m All for You’‘ (Blue Note, May 4) might come closest to his essence. Read the entire review here"Ben Ratliff, The New York Times