Photo by Miguel Mengal, via www.alexlore.com
Saxophonist Alex LoRe received high praise for his debut album, Dream House (Inner Circle Music), which was released in April of this year. All About Jazz wrote, “Dream House is full of tasteful, intelligent music that’s also warm and swinging. The album has moments of pure beauty, belying a depth of experience and thoughtfulness.” Ben Ratliff of The New York Times noted, “LoRe is making the connections among about 70 years’ worth of contemplative, articulate and light-toned players, people who can find the emotional node of a ballad where modesty turns nearly to shame, and also locate a single, fine, well-placed note through abstraction or understatement.”
On the album, LoRe displays a measured and mature attention to melody. His technique, which is considerable, always services a greater melodic arc. There are few grand gestures and virtually no superfluous “runs”—rare for any jazz musician, especially remarkable for one so young. Dream House presents a consistent aesthetic, similar to the work of Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Motian’s tamer bands (and like those artists, LoRe knows how to get a variety of sounds and textures out of a trio.) Yes, it’s dreamy, but at the same time it’s earthy, reminding us of the mysteries of common objects. LoRe knows where his dream house is, and we’re excited to see what he does with the place.
LoRe is playing at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, with his quartet, featuring Dan Tepfer on piano, Martin Nevin on bass, and Colin Stranahan on bass. We got a chance to talk to LoRe last week about his music, his influences, and his mentors.
The Jazz Gallery: You studied with George Garzone and he plays with you on “Amnesia,” the first track of your album. This is unusual in a way because, for many jazz musicians, a début album is a chance to establish an identity independent of their teachers and the conservatories.
Alex LoRe: George and I have a very close relationship. He took me under his wing at NEC [The New England Conservatory of Music] when I was studying with him. He has this kind of relationship with a lot of his students. His family’s from southern Italy and my father’s from Sicily, so there are a lot of similarities between the two. I think that’s part of the reason we bonded so well. I studied with him at Manhattan School of Music as well, during my first year there for graduate studies. We’ve just had this relationship and we’ve played a lot.
That song on the record, I felt it was a good song to open with and I didn’t feel like I had anything to hide. Actually, it was really funny. The first song is a contrafact [on “I Remember You”]. I don’t think George realized that until the recording date. I gave him the charts to practice and he was heckling me for making him practice these lines. So then we’re in the studio and we’re about to record a take and I was like, “George, you want to blow over this?” He said, “No, no, no, you got it.” And I said, “George, it’s just ‘I Remember You.’” He’s like, “Seriously?”
TJG: He quotes it on the record.
AL: Yeah. The look he gave me when I told him that: it’s like, finally the light bulb went off.