LIVE: The Joe Locke Trio @ the Athens Cultural Center, 12/3/11

Joe Locke (photo by Harry Forman)
Joe Locke

NOTE: We are proud to partner with Planet Arts and students from the Germantown Central School District on the Open MIC (Music Industry Connections) Project, in which select students had the hands-on opportunity to document a live performance by the Joe Locke Trio as part of Planet Arts’ Jazz one2one concert series and have their work published at Here’s the second of the two parts of the students’ work:

Review by Camille Parlman
Photographs by Harry Forman

“I was a crappy piano player and a crappy drummer, so I figured I’d better find another instrument.” Renowned vibraphonist Joe Locke explained his introduction to his instrument during the Q&A before his December 3 concert at the Athens Cultural Center. Soon after he and his trio began to play, it became clear that he chose the right instrument.

The art gallery-turned-concert hall quickly began to fill up, and I could see people scanning the room for open seats as the area became standing room only. Everyone was there to see the Joe Locke Trio with Joe Locke on the vibes, Jaimeo Brown on percussion and Jay Anderson on the upright bass.

The three began to play, and the light-hearted, easy tone was set for the evening, each improvising his way through the songs, creating a style of jazz this writer never heard before. With each artful tap on the vibes, Locke closed his eyes tighter and moved closer to his instrument. Locke would scat/hum, not words, but sounds that were drawn out of him as he played. He continued to move his body along with the sounds as if he felt them in his soul. At times, the music picked up and the crowd rocked back and forth like the swelling of a wave. I could feel anticipation for the next break, the next solo, the next tune, build in my chest. With toes tapping and fingers snapping all around me, it was easy to feel a sense of connection between the audience and the musicians.

The trio, playing together on this night for the first time ever, made it look easy as they kept in tune, in time and in rhythm. Brown was able to create a steady rhythm, almost like a train, that captivated me and took control of the room. Anderson often leaned over his bass like a gentle giant, becoming a part of his instrument. He stole the spotlight with his solo, eyes tightly closed as if to feel the music, not just play it. Strumming away with a lovable and endearing smile, he exuded passion in his playing, as well as a sweet sound.

The performance was unforgettable, with tunes you couldn’t quite put your finger on, but at the same time, didn’t need to. Whether standing or sitting, all you needed to do was close your eyes and allow the music to carry you away. It was the perfect way to spend my Saturday night, and one I’ll remember forever.

See more of Harry’s photos from this evening here.

Elizabeth Choinsky’s review and Jahn Jaeger’s photographs at Nippertown
J Hunter’s review at Nippertown
Jeff Nania’s review at Metroland
Rudy Lu’s photographs at Albany Jazz

Joe Locke and Jay Anderson (photo by Harry Forman)
Joe Locke and Jay Anderson
Joe Locke and Jaimeo Brown (photo by Harry Forman)
Joe Locke and Jaimeo Brown

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