John Heward Trio

Let Them Pass (laissez-passer)

BY Glen HallPublished Dec 1, 2004

Damn, these guys play! From bar one of the first of seven pieces, all titled "Let Them Pass,” John Heward (drums), Joe Giardullo (reeds) and Mike Bisio (bass) lay into three-way conversations that are intense, deeply-felt, and meditative, even at their most fevered pitch. The CD is the result of prolonged reflection on the way these musicians’ ancestors came to this continent: their travails, their fears and their loves. Each piece is a tone painting and each one evokes a markedly different response in the listener. Heward’s drumming is unfailingly complementary, digging into the gutsy stuff with strength and certainty, splashing soft cymbals in the solemn or dark moments. Bassist Bisio is a telepathic interlocutor between Heward’s stated or implied rhythms and reedist Joe Giardulo’s shape-shifting flights of sound exploration. Joe’s playing on tenor sax, bass clarinet, piccolo and alto flute displays virtuosic technique combined with a soulful, life-affirming spirit. His flute on "Six,” a ringer for a Turkish ney, and tenor on the final piece, a blistering sax meltdown, show his wide range of expressiveness. The rapport of these three musicians cannot be manufactured; it comes only with long association and mutual trust. The result is music this solid, reflective and honest.

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