Since the mid-80s, I’d been working on an ensemble that put together voice, brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion, and this was the first recording with this configuration. The front line sound is Judi’s voice, Tim’s trumpet my woodwinds and the basses. Steve Swallow plays the electric bass as both as a soloist, and in place of a trombone.
I met Scott Lee in the early 70s, in Boston, and he’s played an important role in musical life. We’ve played together quite a bit, in different groups and he’s a great bassist with a real open conception, and beautiful bowing techniques.
The sound of this band, which I love, has the range of an orchestra an a chorus, with Judi’s soprano. There’s a lot more imagery and things that can happen when you add a voice, especially Judi. She has a unique sound and conception about improvising and creating music with the group and that’s been an important component on a number of my recordings.
" Universal Language is one of Joe Lovano’s most ambitious and successsful albums, an attempt to prove the cliche that music… read more"" Universal Language is one of Joe Lovano’s most ambitious and successsful albums, an attempt to prove the cliche that music is indeed the universal language. He does this by writing a set of ten original compositions that cover a broad spectrum of sounds and styles, from hard bop to worldbeat-influenced post-bop. His band — trumpeter Tim Hagans, drummer Jack DeJohnette, pianist Kenny Werner, vocalist Judi Silvano and bassists Charlie Haden, Scott Lee and Steve Swallow — handle the subtleties of the music expertly, bringing the melodic themes into unexpected territory. Silvano’s voice is used as texture, not a lead instrument, which helps give the music complexity and an otherworldly depth. It’s an unabashedly adventurous and risky project, and it works frighteningly well."Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide