Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument. He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln, Nebraska Symphony.
Long known to be a soloist capable of stunning physical power and broad emotional range, it was not until the last decade that he emerged as the composer, band leader and conceptualist that he is considered today. This is in no small part due to his recent solo projects. “Four Walls of Freedom” (Sirocco), a 6 movement suite based on the writing of the monk Thomas Merton, which he composed as a vehicle for tenor saxophonist Bob Berg, garnered high praise from the critical community as a major work and won several international polls. “Live in Seattle” (Origin), by The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group, won the 2006 Ear Shot award for “Concert of the Year”. This group is well loved and emulated by younger musicians looking for direction and inspiration. The overwhelming success of his most recent quartet, “Force of Four” (Origin), can be attributed to the talents of his young cohorts and to the leader’s musical philosophy, which is to honor tradition while keeping both feet planted in the present and future. His latest release, the captivating, immersive album “VIA”, is the result of a reunion of Storms/Nocturnes, the transatlantic trio with Geoffrey Keezer and Tim Garland. He has just released “Wish Upon A Star” on Motéma Music – his first recorded symphonic project, with arrangements by Ryan Cohan and Tim Garland.
Locke has won numerous awards and polls, including the 2006, 2008 and 2009 “Mallet Player of the Year” award from the Jazz Journalists Association. He is active as a clinician / educator and has been the International Vibraphone Consultant at the Royal Academy of Music, London, on a visiting basis since 2008.