Among Australia’s many jazz exports Linda May Han Oh shapes up as the one to have most thoroughly infiltrated the New York scene’s labyrinths. Born in Malaysia and raised in Perth, Oh moved to the Big Apple in 2008, and now finds herself the bassist of choice for an array of artists including Pat Metheny and, here, Sound Prints, the quintet co-led by saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas, joined by pianist Lawrence Fields. You can hear why they want her. In tandem with brilliant drummer Joey Baron she makes the grooves like slingshots when they need to be, while generating something of the sonic heft and chunkiness of Dave Holland, and soloing with authority.
I’ve often found Lovano’s work (outside of the late Paul Motian’s great trio) oddly detached, but here he is at his best, his tenor broad and woolly as it sprawls across the grooves, while Douglas is the perfect foil with his slicing incisiveness of sound and ideas. The material, in addition to originals by the leaders, includes two of Wayne Shorter’s incomparable pieces, and it is gratifying to see Shorter being revered in a way that Monk and Mingus was before him