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REVIEW: Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas Quintet (Crooners Supper Club)

The many faces of American jazz saxophonist, alto clarinetist, flautist, and drummer Joe Lovano with trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Leonardo Genovese, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Rudy Royston. Playing as the Sound Prints quintet, the five musicians officially kicked off this year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival on Friday.

On June 23, Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas brought their Sound Prints quintet – with Lovano on saxophone, Douglas on trumpet, Leonardo Genovese on piano, Matt Penman on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums – to The Belvedere Room at Crooners. The concert was the Official Kick-Off to the 2022 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

The setting was the outdoor tent of Crooners’ Belvedere outdoor venue. It was a balmy 90 degrees to start the evening, but the breezes eventually picked up, the predicted storms stayed away, and the temperatures moderated under the force of all the cool jazz coming from the stage.

The Sound Prints quintet was originally formed to celebrate the music of Wayne Shorter (on Shorter’s 80th birthday). The group has three albums available through Greenleaf Music: Live at Monterrey Jazz Festival (2015), Scandal (2018), and, most recently, Other Worlds (2021), although those albums feature Lovano and Douglas with a different group of supporting musicians: pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Joey Baron. Both Lovano and Douglas also had other albums come out in 2021: Lovano’s Garden of Expression with his trio on ECM, and Douglas’s Secular Psalms with Greenleaf.

Almost all the music this evening was from 2021’s Other Worlds (with an encore from the Scandal album).  Lovano explained that the new album had been finished just before the Pandemic hit, and that they had hoped to tour with it, but that performing the works in front of a live audience had been delayed until now.

The Sound Prints Quintet has been described as Post-Bop, and one can hear the mixture of styles in their compositions and their playing: some traditional Be Bop, some Free Jazz, and scattered elements from other genres. In Friday evening’s performances, there was a weaving of beautiful melodic lines, complex rhythms, and passages where the tone or rhythm were intentionally slightly off, playing at the verge of cacophony. Lovano and Douglas alternated solos and worked to add layers to one another’s musical line. Genovese offered joyously anarchic piano work on the side, while Penman on Bass and Royston on drums offered a solid rhythmic foundation on each piece.

Brian Bix