Joe Locke

Joseph Locke

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Joseph Locke

Joseph Locke was born in Palo Alto, California but raised in Rochester, New York.  A self-taught improviser, he benefited from his early studies in classical percussion and composition at the Eastman School of Music with John Beck, Gordon Stout, Ted Moore, and David Mancini.

In 1998 Locke recorded Saturn’s Child, a duet with Frank Kimbrough. The follow-up, The Willow (Omnitone), added Tim Ries on woodwinds and Jeff Ballard on hand percussion. Collaborations with pianists Kenny Barron and David Hazeltine (Mutual Admiration Society) also resulted in albums.

In 2000, Locke recorded his first album with Sirocco Records and continued to record for his groups Storytelling and Walls of Freedom, and as a member of Storms/Nocturnes with Tim Garland and Geoffrey Keezer. The concept for the band Storytelling came out of meeting vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Ledford in 1986 and produced two albums, Storytelling and State of Soul, that featured Locke as a composer and lyricist. The trio Storms/Nocturnes recorded Storms/Nocturnes (2001), Rising Tide (2003), and VIA (Origin, 2011).

Locke and Keezer recorded Summer Knows and Summertime. Completing the New Sound Quartet are bassist Bob Hurst and Billy Kilson on drums. This collaboration led to the creation of the Geoffrey Keezer Group, featuring Terreon Gully and Mike Pope and the 2005 Earshot Golden Ear Award-winning concert and album Live in Seattle (Origin). After joining Motéma Music in 2011, the group released Signing.

Locke and Christos Rafalides started the Locke/Rafalides Duo and Education Project in 2005 and recorded Van Gogh by Numbers. Locke has worked with Russell Malone, Eddie Higgins, Dianne Reeves, Vic Juris, and the New York Quartet with Billy Childs, Idris Muhammad, and Cameron Brown. He has composed and arranged for The Airmen of Note (2011 and 2012), the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and the Jazz Band Classic of the New York Youth Symphony.

Motema released Wish Upon A Star (2012), a live album with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra. His third album for Motema, Lay Down My Heart – Blues & Ballads Vol. 1, reached No. 1 on the Jazz Week album chart in July 2013.

Locke was appointed International Vibraphone Consultant by the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2008, a position he holds on a visiting basis. He was elected Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (Hon ARAM) by the Governing Body in 2014.

Locke has recorded over 30 albums as a band leader. As producer and sideman, he appears on more than 65 recordings.

He has been voted No. 1 vibist in DownBeat magazine’s Critics’ Poll and Brazil’s International Jazz Poll

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Aint No Sunshine

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