Joe Lovano Us Five - Folk Art - 180g 2LP

Product no.: PPANBST91528

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Joe Lovano Us Five - Folk Art - 180g 2LP
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Pure Pleasure / Blue Note - PPAN BST91528 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl

AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition - Blue Note BST 91528

Mastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road  - Pressed  at Pallas Germany

Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the January 2012 Issue of Stereophile

Recorded Analogue Direct to Tape

Double LP includes extra track not available on CD release

The nine original compositions of Folk Art underline what a treasure to the jazz world Lovano remains. 

Jazz is essentially an African-American folk art, elements not lost on Joe Lovano as he presents this all-original program of progressive music. His updated quintet Us Five is one of his freshest units in some time, with bassist Esperanza Spalding, the criminally underrated pianist James Weidman, and two stir-the-pot drummers in Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III. Together they fulfill Lovano's vision as a band that is not afraid to take many chances, stay within a bop-based tradition, and cut loose on many levels in terms of adding diverse elements to this mix of music.

Lovano is noticeably restless, using his reliable tenor sax, but also straight alto, clarinet, and taragato. The drummers not only play their standard kits, but ethnic percussion instruments from many continents, while Spalding is maturing and growing exponentially into a formidable voice on her instrument. Weidman is simply brilliant throughout, largely ignored since his early days with Abbey Lincoln until now, but there's no reason he should be so underestimated or slighted.

Folk Art (2009), Lovano’s twenty-second release for Blue Note has been re-mastered by Pure Pleasure Records to audiophile vinyl. Consisting entirely of original compositions (a first), the project is a free-wheeling amalgam of improvisation and structures. In preparation, the group performed a week at New York’s legendary Village Vanguard. Playing an assortment of instruments, Lovano is accompanied by veteran pianist James Weidman (Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman) and newcomers (at the time) Esperanza Spalding on upright bass and the tandem of Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela on drums and percussion.

The opening track, “Powerhouse” is a complex, bop piece that recalls the complexity of improvisational pioneers, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Lovano is able to push his tenor to unrestrained tones, yet maintain harmonic context. The title cut is modal jazz at its best. Switching to alto, he   establishes a sly groove before letting loose. An unconvential transition into a drum “dialogue” takes on characteristics of a suite. Weidman then executes a lyrical bop piano solo before Lovano swings on tenor. The thematic changes in style free the quintet to more open expression.

The ambition of this project extends to the instrumentation. Lovano introduces the taragato ( a Hungarian folk instrument, described as “half-clarinet and half-soprano saxophone”) on “Drum Song”. A stylized homage on “Dibango” (dedicated to the Cameroonian saxophonist-vibraphonist) includes an aulochrome (a double soprano saxophone with a single set of keys down the center). Also, the percussionists utilize ankle bells, ascending and descending opera gongs, Ethiopian drums, pander and dumbek for exotic accents throughout the album.

Lovano occupies a lofty position as a post-bop saxophonist. “Us Five” is reminiscent of the great jazz innovators of the late fifties and early sixties. Tenor runs vary from low-register rumbles to higher squawks with uncompromising originality. Weidman contributes an elegant solo (one of many) that invites comparisons to McCoy Tyner. His graceful chemistry with the group is on full display in “Wild Beauty”, with solos and counters with the sax. Another ballad, “Song For Judi” (dedicated to Lovano’s wife, singer Judi Silvano) offers a romantic interpretation with a rich tenor. “Ettenro” (Ornette spelled backward) captures the abstract spirit of its muse with dazzling sax play and spontaneous time and key changes. A bonus track (“Jazz Free”) is another extemporaneous concoction featuring inventive solos, especially by bassist Spalding.

There is never a dull or frivolous moment on Folk Art. The, tonal quality on this 180 gram vinyl is impeccable. From the power and complex sounds of the reed instruments to the intricacies of the percussion, the sound is clear and warm. To an incoming generation of jazz artists, Lovano (with his signature hat) is now the icon.


  • Joe Lovano (saxophone)
  • James Weidman (piano)
  • Esperanza Spaulding (bass)
  • Otis III, Francisco Mela (drums)

Track Listing:
1. Powerhouse
2. Folk Art
3. Wild Beauty
4. Us Five
5. Song for Judi
6. Drum Song
7. Dibango
8. Page 4
9. Ettenro


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Pure Pleasure Records
The Restoration of the Art of Sound
180g Vinyl Mastered From The Best Available Sources

At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records. During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.

A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.

We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production. To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.

There really is nothing quite like it.  It’s the touch, the feel, you have to stop and stare, the cover,  the real thing, even the smell.

Its tangible, you can feel it, see it, study it,   muse/dream over it, it’s real, someone  has spent hours and hours over its construction and presentation. Pure Pleasure Records is just that, Pure Pleasure and that is what it has set out to be.  

The music and the physical record.  Something to keep, treasure, admire and above all enjoy.Of course with vinyl it’s not just a record, it’s the cover,  the sleeve notes, you are  holding a unique package, produced by craftsmen.

Pure Pleasure  Records bring you vinyl albums of quality Jazz - Blues - R+B - Soul - Funk, remastered by some of the best engineers in the world and pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at what is probably the best pressing plant in Europe 

Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
Plated and Pressed at Pallas in Germany on 180 Gram Virgin Vnyl
Released in Limited Quantities

Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany  For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!  




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