Tribute to Coltrane is better late than never - The Buffalo News

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Tribute to Coltrane is better late than never

JAZZ

Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, "Compassion: The Music of John Coltrane" (Resonance)

The glory of Resonance Records marches on. Its ability to find astonishing unreleased jazz performances from record labels, musician's agents, and radio stations the world over has resulted this time in a a feast.

This dates from a BBC broadcast in 2007 recorded in New York City and it's a two-tenor beauty. The idea that friends Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano recorded a tribute to John Coltrane 10 years ago and it took this long for it to be issued is more than a little depressing. Mostly the repertoire is early Coltrane, with the exception of "Dear Lord" from 1965 and the title tune from Coltrane's late-period record "Meditations." That concludes the disc and, as is always the case with Coltrane's career, "late Coltrane" is far more challenging than any other time of his career. And that's the way it is here. Even so, the playing, solo or in tandem, is exceptional from both saxophonists. (Some of the best Lovano I've heard in 20 years is here.)

The rest of the band is pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart. An exhilarating record in several different ways. It's a bit absurd we're just hearing it now. As always, the notes and interviews on Resonance Records continue to be exemplary and nonpareil.

4 stars (out of four)

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