The Joe Locke Group
The Joe Locke Group
Featuring Joe Locke (vibes), Geoffrey Keezer (piano), George Mraz (bass), Clarence Penn (drums) and Kenny Washington (vocals)
WBGO’s Josh Jackson talks to Joe Locke about "For the Love of You":
In 1994 I recorded an album called “Moment to Moment”, celebrating the music of Henry Mancini. It was a pleasure to arrange some of his great songs, re-imagining them for my quartet. 2007, thirteen years later, found the producer of that CD, Todd Barkan, serving as artistic director of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (at Jazz at Lincoln Center) in NYC. He and I talked about revisiting the “Moment to Moment” project for a week-long engagement at Dizzy’s. I was fortunate to be able to bring together the supreme talents of Geoffrey Keezer, George Mraz and Clarence Penn to realize the music. The new addition to the mix was vocalist Kenny Washington (not to be confused with the drummer of the same name). A couple of years earlier, I had walked into a venue on the West Coast (the Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay, CA, to be specific) and was introduced to Kenny’s voice, as he sang “My Ship” by Kurt Weill. It was a revelation. I was deeply affected by what I heard and vowed to myself to find a way to collaborate with him. The Mancini week at Dizzy’s was the perfect opportunity.
Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, New York City, January 20, 2010 (video by Jeff Jones, Jazz At Lincoln Center)
"For The Love Of You"
(E1 Entertainment 2010) available through Joe Locke's Music Store.
I had originally recorded all of the songs from “Moment to Moment” as instrumentals, but of course they all had been written with words, and Kenny fit seamlessly into the arrangements, giving them a new depth by the way he used his skill as a musical storyteller to deliver the lyrics. The group’s residency at Dizzy’s became an annual event and the following year we expanded the concept to include the music of other film composers such as Johnny Mandel and Ennio Morricone. Now, with “For The Love Of You”, we’ve widened the scope even more with other material we like, including music from The Isley Brothers, Neil Young and some originals by yours truly. “I Miss New York (When I Been Gone Too Long)” is about the feeling I get when I return home after being on the road. “Verrazano Moon” was written and played in memory of the great saxophonist Bob Berg. “Bright Side Up” is a contemporary tune with a positive vibe.
I love playing with this band. With Geoffrey, Clarence, Kenny and George, the sky’s the limit. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Many thanks to Chuck Mitchell and E1 Entertainment for helping us document this project, Wynton Marsalis, for building the house in which it gestated, and Todd Barkan for all the bright moments... from the very beginning.
New York City, October, 2009