Joseph Lepore: Journal (2010)
Written, arranged, and produced by bassist Joseph Lepore, Journal is one solid and reliable recording with a consistent and upright sound. As a leader, he joins his bass with tenor saxophonist Lance Murphy, vibraphonist Tim Collins, and rock-solid drummer Nasheet Waits.
Lepore, born in New York, grew up in Italy, absorbing the jazz scene in Salerno and Rome. First noticed with saxophonist Rosario Giuliani, he was quickly recruited by Greg Osby when he moved to New York, and can be heard on the saxophonist's 9 Levels (Inner Circle, 2008).
As a player, he never neglects the groove. On the opening post-bop workout, "Running," the quartet burns through a rapid and somewhat feverish pace, with Murphy soloing first, followed by Collins with his references to the 1960s playing of Bobby Hutcherson. Anchored by Lepore and Waits, this music can go just about anywhere. The group spins out a Thelonious Monk tribute on "Sphere's," dashing Monk's distinct vocabulary against a basic swinging background, with Lepore and Waits again sorting through complex rhythms to make them accessibly engaging. When Lepore solos, he plays within the bebop tradition, almost as if he were the son of Ron Carter.
The joy of this record is its perpetual groove. Lepore maintains the head-nodding, toe-tapping sound through a semi-waltz "Waiting For Better Times," an ever-shifting "The Lazy One" written in 5/4, and the insistent "The Vampire." The disc ends with the balladic "Drawing Hands," which allows the band to stretch out and solo in a slow dance with Lepore's bass notes.
Journal is a consistently enjoyable outing.
Track Listing: Running; Waiting For Better Times; Puzzle; Sphere's; The Lazy One; The Big Apple; The Vampire; Drawing Hands.
Personnel: Joseph Lepore: bass, string bass sections (8); Lance Murphy: tenor saxophone; Tim Collins: vibraphone; Nasheet Waits: drums.
Record Label: Inner Circle Music