Lorne Lofsky is a cool-toned guitarist in the tradition of Jimmy Raney and fellow Canadian Ed Bickert. Since Lofsky’s sound is not all that exciting, it is fortunate that he is not only an expert bop-based improviser but very good at picking out a repertoire that fits his style. For his trio set with bassist Mike Downes and drummer Jerry Fuller, Lofsky performs four songs by Bill Evans plus numbers by Wayne Shorter, John Lewis, Lennie Tristano (“317 East 32nd”), and Ravel, along with a few standards. To give variety to the date, four pieces are taken totally by Lofsky, who overdubs a second (and sometimes third) guitar with taste. “Subtle creativity” is a phrase that sums up this session as a whole, for it takes several playings to fully appreciate the tight musical communication between the trio members along with Lofsky’s inventive ideas.
Subtle stylings highlighted by endless invention
Inside Out with guitarist Lorne Lofsky, bassist Kieran Overs and drummer Barry Romberg is a subtle act. The surface of their music is deceptively quiet, dominated by Lofsky’s mild but not quite neutral sound. His fingers float over the strings, while his mind skates around whatever tune he is playing, peering into the corners, racing along the margins. Overs plays a steady pulse as he sketches in the harmony, and Romberg, a drummer with big ears, doesn’t just support Lofsky’s rhythmic patterns while kicking the beat, but compliments them, shadowing the rhythms of improvised melodies. Romberg knows that the genius of a shadow is its simultaneity. It doesn’t follow, it appears at the exazct same time. His rhythmic shadowing is uncannily and consistently immediate. The trio play standards from the Great American Songbook, but as they work through a tune like Some Day My Prince Will Come, they will (and did) find themselves playing Coltrane’s Giant Steps. A fragment of dialogue illustrates their comfort zone. “What are we going to play next?” asks Romberg. “Oh, I don’t know,” says Lofsky. “We’ll think of something.” In the middle of the concert, two tunes particularly stood out: Lofsky’s beautiful ballad in tribute to Canadian guitar legend Ed Bickert (One for Ed), and an astonishingly brilliant trio take on All the Things You Are. Lofsky’s effortless phrasing, his way of turning a harmony into the right track at the last possible moment, Overs’s ringing notes establishing a baloon of tone to cushion the tone, Romberg shadowing Lofsky’s rhythms – all make an audience lose itself in the endless invention. ~ by Stephen Pedersen for The Halifax Chronicle Herald
By Paul Wells, The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, October 22, 1990
ED BICKERT/LORNE LOFSKY – This is New (Concord)
Did somebody mention introverts? Hello, Ed Bickert. The so-cool dean of Canadian pickers, Bickert seems to be playing in his sleep. But his stripped-down melodicism and metholated charm show how aware he really is.
Lorne Lofsky, another Torontonian but rather younger, is a good match for Bickert. Lofsky’s playing is just a touch more modern than Bickert’s perpetual mis-50’s cool, his tone just a bit harder-edged.
Together, they ease through a bunch of standards (Namely You, The Star Crossed Lovers), neither rushing nor competing. Bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Jerry Fuller take the hint, and deliver more restrained accompaniment than we’re used to hearing from them.
It’s all very polite. Jazz for a Sunday afternoon with your favorite sweater and your dog. It’s also first-rate.
*** 1/2 ED BICKERT & LORNE LOFSKY “This is New” Concord Jazz :
Two prominent Toronto guitarists–Bickert, 57, and Lofsky, 36–join with two of Canada’s best rhythm purveyors, bassist Neal Swainson and drummer Jerry Fuller, for a low-key collaboration on tunes mainly written by fellow jazzmen (Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton, Horace Silver, Steve Swallow). Each has a solo track; Lofsky’s harmonic grace is well displayed in the Ellington-Strayhorn “Star Crossed Lovers.” Both men deal ingeniously with Charlie Parker’s contrapuntal theme “Ah Leu Cha.” A superior sampling of north-of-the-border jazz.
by LEONARD FEATHER
By Will Smith for Jazz Sounds, Sunday World-Herald, Omaha, NE, July 15, 1990
Ed Bickert and Lorne Lofsky are a couple of Canadian guitarists who are already widely known in jazz circles. One would hope that their recorded get-together, “This is New” (Concord Jazz CCD-4414), will find many new fans.
Supported by two of their countrymen, Bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Jerry Fuller, Bickert and Lofsky weave single-noye lines and chords in lyrical, spontaneous and loosely swinging fashion here. Four Stars.
Ed Bickert and Lorne Lofsky, “This is New” Concord Jazz, ***1/4
By Leonard Feather, The Jazz link, San Diego, CA, July 1990
Two prominent Toronto guitarists…Bickert, 57, and Lofsky, 36…join with two of Canada’s best rhythm purveyors, bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Jerry Fuller, for a low key collaboration on tunes mainly written by fellow jazzmen (Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton, Horace Silver, Steve Swallow). Each has a solo track; Lofsky’s harmonic grace is well displayed in Billy Strayhorn’s “Star Crossed Lovers.” Both men deal ingeniously wth Charlie Parker’s contrapuntal theme “Ah Leu Cha.” A superior sampling of north-of-the-border jazz.
By Richard S. Ginell, Daily News, Los Angeles, CA, Friday, June 1, 1990
THIS IS NEW/Ed Bickert/Lorne Lofsky
Our rating: three stars
The title notwithstanding (it is the name of the leadoff Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin tune), there is nothing really new here in a progressive sense. Rather, this is an engaging opportunity to catch up with guitarist Ed Bickert, one of Canada’s better-kept secrets (Concord Jazz CCD-4414).
Bickert tends to stay at home in the Toronto area, out of the reach of the publicity mills, so Concord often goes to Canada to record him. Here, an all-Canadian team of bassist Neil Swainson, drummer Jerry Fuller and guitarist Lorne Lofsky, join Bickert in aswinging, smooth-as-glass, hourlong set of mostly out-of-the-way pop and jazz standards.
Far from being overmatched, the young Lofsky offers a sharply etched, equally inventive counterpoint to the subdued yet tasty imagination of Bickert. Along the way, both glide through some relaxing mainstream grooves.
Contact Lorne Lofsky
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