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ALBUM REVIEW: "Love is a Pendulum"


Joe Locke

"Love is a Pendulum"

Motéma Music

When I heard that hard-driving vibraphonist Joe Locke's new album, "Love is a Pendulum," was based on a poem of the same name by Barbara Sfraga, I was a bit skeptical. Then I read the poem. It's a beautiful work, dealing with the elusiveness of love, and it has inspired a great CD. In an album that transcends the jazz genre, Locke does what classical composers have done for centuries: he explores one of the great issues of life in purely musical terms.

In "Love is a Planchette" Locke perfectly evokes the floating quality of a planchette moving across a Ouija board. On this track, he is magnificently supported by vocalist Theo Bleckmann and his gorgeous ethereal harmonies. Several minutes into the tune, "Love is Perpetual Motion" moves into a time signature (9/4) that nicely evokes the title. The tune is also propelled by Locke's vibraphone dueling with the ringing tones of Victor Provost's steel pan. That's just a small sample — all nine of the tracks are excellent.

Locke is at the top of his game throughout as are the members of his quartet: Terreon Gully, drums; Robert Rodriguez, piano, and Ricky Rodriguez, bass. In addition to Bleckmann and Provost, other superb guests include Rosario Giuliani and Donny McCaslin on sax and Paul Bollenback on guitar.