Vibraphonist Joe Locke plays a mix of soul, swing and world music on his latest album Makram.
For this recording, Locke’s quartet features pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Lorin Cohen and drummer Samvel Sarkisyan.
It also includes appearances by Tim Garland on soprano saxophone, bass clarinet and flute; Samir Nasr Eddine on oud; and Bahaa Daou on riq.
Makram features original compositions by Locke, Sarkisyan and Ridl along with a Cole Porter standard and another tune by trombonist and co-producer Doug Beavers.
The band’s new compositions pay tribute to several of their idols, such as Song for Vic Juris, the Roy Hargrove homage Raise Heaven, and the John Coltrane-influenced Shifting Moon.
Over the course of his career, Locke has released more than two dozen albums as a leader. He has also performed with the likes of Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, Grover Washington Jr., Raul Midón, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor and more.
“Within the galaxy of contemporary jazz, albums often come with expectations that artists present their music in ways listeners can easily appreciate or readily understand. Makram‘s orbit revolves around a slightly different sensibility, one where a gorgeous collage of music speaks to the meticulous preparation, world-class artistry and personal chemistry which Joe Locke is advancing at this point in his career,” jazz journalist Michael Ambrosino writes in the liner notes. “Challenging, complex, familiar but with a contemporary and international flare, this recording incorporates a dynamic quartet, effortless arranging spiced with just the right blend of instrumentation, curious meters, honorable sentiments and kinship — music that exemplifies Joe Locke’s intimate connection to his band, his audience, and most importantly himself.”