Vibraphonist Joe Locke’s new recording, “Love is a Pendulum,” is just over an hour in length, but has taken a lifetime to make, as it encompasses all of Locke’s joys and sorrows, and utilizes all of his slings and arrows. It’s an arresting collection of all original music, the centerpiece of which is a five-movement suite based on a poem by the writer and musician Barbara Sfraga, a multi-dimensional artist who Locke has long admired. “As is so often the case in my composing process,” Locke explains, “the genesis of a musical idea comes from words, whether it be a novel, a poem, or even a simple phrase uttered in a certain way.” Joining Locke’s core working quartet are special guests Rosario Giuliani and Donny McCaslin on reeds, Paul Bollenback on guitar and Theo Bleckman on vocals.
With his new quintet, the E-Collective, multiple Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard journeys into an exciting zone of grooved fusion teeming with funk and blues colors on “Breathless.” The group includes Charles Altura on guitar, Fabian Almazan on keyboards, Donald Ramsey on bass and drummer Oscar Seaton. The adventurous 13-tune recording zeroes in on several Blanchard originals, an epic-length piece by Almazan, and a scattering of covers, some sung by Maroon 5’s PJ Morton.
Also this week, trombonist Kevin Stout and saxophonist Brian Booth offer a loving tribute to the extravagant beauty of their home state of Utah’s five national parks and the evocative character of the geological wonders that dominate the region on “Color Country”; singer and lyricist Tony Adamo’s imaginative music is depicted through a prism that he calls Vocal/HipSpokenWord on “Tony Adamo and the New York Crew”; and Houston-based bassist and composer Glen Ackerman offers up his latest jazz-fusion project, “Glenious Alien Landscape.”