This CD is special. On first hearing it the word that came to mind was "emotion". I can understand why a reviewer in 1997 was so moved that he couldn't write a review but sent a thank you letter to Shawn Loescher instead. Loescher's alto soars and sings. His playing combines emotion, creativity and mastery of his instrument, qualities not always found in combination.
Loescher graduated from Berklee in 1995, winning the coveted "Woodwind Achievement Award for Jazz Saxophone." He then moved to Europe, establishing himself as an educator and composer of both jazz and classical music. Since his return to the US he has worked with Mark Murphy and guitarist Art Johnson who first discovered the teen-age Loescher in 1992.
The Boston edition of the trio was together from 1992 to 1999 while the European trio on "Distance" was organized in 1997. This CD shows them to have the rapport of Evans, LaFaro and Motian. They open with a vigorous contrapuntal "Subconscious-Lee."Catch those alto figures during the bass solo. Even during the straight melody section of Richard Rodgers' "No Other Love" the expressive Loescher sound will capture your attention. The two versions of "Body and Soul" are worthy of comparison with those by Serge Chaloff and Coleman Hawkins. On"How My Heart Sings" and his originals, Mass-Waltz" and "Love Letter," Loescher proves that musical exploration can still be melodic.
The European label that originally issued "Distance" in 1999 went under. In spite of that the CD achieved cult status. My hope is that this collector's edition will bring this trio the wider recognition they deserve.