Joe Lovano Us FiveLongwood GardensKennett Square, PAJanuary 19, 2013Renowned saxophonist Joe Lovano brought his esteemed Us Five ensemble to Kennett Square's bucolic Longwood Gardens on a crisp January evening, touring in support of Cross Culture, his 23rd release for Blue Note Records. Performing in the Conservatory's intimate ballroom, the unconventional lineup entertained a sold-out audience in an elegant prewar setting that provided an ideal backdrop for Lovano's timeless artistry.The capacity crowd was no doubt due in part to the presence of recent Grammy winner Esperanza Spaulding, Us Five's original bassist, whose newfound celebrity ...read more
Penned as one of the greatest musicians in jazz history," saxophonist Joe Lovano has successfully created a unique voice within the jazz tradition and has contributed significantly to the continuance and development of the idiom.In just over a quarter of a century he has created an expansive body of work that has covered a broad spectrum of styles. This includes swing, bebop, hard-bop, post-bop, the avant-garde and interpretations of the music of Frank Sinatra and Enrico Caruso. He has explored an array of group settings, including duo with drums, the coveted trio with drums and bass, numerous quartets, ...read more
Joe Lovano's Us Five debut, Folk Art (Blue Note, 2009), was a triumphantly energetic outing, filled with the sound of two drummers and running through a program of Lovano's originals. It was a highly personal and emphatic debut, and a great one too, but Bird Songs is important in completing the portrait of this ensemble. Bird Songs confirms what was previously just a suspicion--that this ensemble has a wide range of expression that can be applied to many different settings. The live shows that followed Folk Art sometimes sounded exactly like the record, at least in mood ...read more
An inquisitive musician with a reverence for tradition, Grammy-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano has recorded a number of unique tributes to artists who have inspired him, including Enrico Caruso and Frank Sinatra. But none of his previous homages, not even 52nd Street Themes (Blue Note, 2000), his love letter to the bebop era, are as relevant to his artistic development as Bird Songs, Lovano's modernistic reinterpretation of tunes written by and associated with the great Charlie Parker.Reevaluating these revered compositions from a contemporary perspective, Lovano rearranges Parker's innovative melodic, harmonic and rhythmic fundamentals into unique new configurations for his ...read more
Sax giant Joe Lovano has blown next to a bevy of jazz greats, and been applauded as soloist and leader throughout his nearly 40-year career. While it might seem surprising that audiences had to wait until his 22nd album for a tribute to Charlie Parker, Bird Songs demonstrates, once again, that Lovano does things his own way, and that great things are worth waiting for. Lovano and his Us Five band cover tunes that Bird" penned and played, forever changing the shape of jazz. Many of these tunes started as improvisations, evolving into test pieces or shredding ...read more
Joe LovanoNighttownCleveland Heights, OhioDecember 28, 2010 Late into the third set of his homecoming gig with family and friends at Nighttown, saxophonist Joe Lovano took to the mike to remind all in attendance that Cleveland has always had a creative music scene goin' on." It felt part pep talk, part classic eureka moment of the chronically pessimistic Clevelander, sprung this night from the combustive heat of a wonderfully overstuffed room: Wait, wow, this is our city?" That such sentiment passed through the lips of Lovano, one of the recognized kings of the jazz ...read more
Some jazz artists enter a period in their careers where they've said all they have to say yet carry on, eking out a living, resting on laurels and simply playing out the string. Not saxophonist Joe Lovano. Folk Art is his 22nd recording for Blue Note alone, a run that has been marked by artistic consistency and tasteful excellence. This collection, however, is arguably the freshest and richest inside/out session he's delivered in his admirable career, certainly since Trio Fascination (with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones) over a decade ago. One way (relatively) elder statesmen keep things ...read more
Mostly Coltrane is pianist Steve Kuhn's venerable ode to his onetime employer, John Coltrane, with whom he played for eight weeks in early 1960 at New York City's Jazz Gallery. Kuhn revisits those seminal days without ignoring Coltrane's later period advancements, extrapolating his controversial innovations with rare lyricism and tenderness--a uniquely beautiful tribute unencumbered by nostalgic sentimentality.
Mirroring the instrumentation of Coltrane's Classic Quartet, (which featured pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones), Kuhn is joined by his regular associate, bassist David Finck, veteran tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, and in-demand drummer Joey Baron. ...read more
The sound of John Coltrane (1926-1967) was a mix of spiritual tranquility and ecstatic fury, sheets-of-sound full force gales and transcendent, tender, Zen-like ruminations from a man intent on communing with God through his music--all of which makes an attempt at communing with Coltrane a nervy quest.Enter pianist Steve Kuhn.In 1960, at 21 years of age, Kuhn was employed by Coltrane for an eight week stint of live shows at New York's The Jazz Gallery, playing Central Park West," (later recorded for Coltrane's Sound (Atlantic, 1964)), The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," and I Want to ...read more
Steve Kuhn Trio w/ Joe Lovano Mostly Coltrane ECM Records 2009
Although he's spent most of his career focusing on interpreting the music of others, pianist Steve Kuhn's albums for the ECM label have largely been about his small but significant repertoire of original music. Which makes Mostly Coltrane a real anomaly by comparison to earlier works like those reissued in the three-CD box set Life's Backward Glances - Solo and Quartet (ECM, 2009). Still, Kuhn has a perhaps little-known connection that makes this set of, well, mostly material either composed or ...read more
John Zorn's Masada project has blossomed over the past decade and a half, demonstrating durability in the face of multiple interpretations. The composer's stated intention to create a classic songbook, a consistent body of written work to inspire artists beyond his own performances, has been fruitful. However, most of the variations on these Hassidic-inspired tunes have been made by peers and associates who record for Zorn's own Tzadik imprint. Stolas: Book of Angels, Volume 12 stands poised to break Zorn's Masada through to the traditional mainstream, courtesy of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano.
A highly respected traditionalist, Lovano's inclusion ...read more
Folk Art is saxophonist Joe Lovano's 22nd album as a leader for the esteemed Blue Note label, and surprisingly, his first of all original compositions. Folk Art is unusual not only in its choice of material, but in personnel as well. Pianist James Weidman is the only veteran, rising bass star Esperanza Spalding and percussionists Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela are new faces on the scene.
Inspired by the vigor of his young line-up, Lovano's open-ended approach recalls the expansive freedom of his more experimental Blue Note releases such as Universal Language (1992) and Flights of Fancy: ...read more
Sumptuous and cinematic, a retrospective with a spin, Symphonica is the first album saxophonist Joe Lovano has recorded in its entirety with a full symphony orchestra. Playing mainly tenor, he revisits six of his favorite original compositions (and Charles Mingus' Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love"), written over the last 20 years, with the massed strings, woodwinds and brass of Cologne's WDR Radio Big Band and Orchestra.
By turns caressed and buoyed along by Michael Abene's gorgeous arrangements, Lovano is at his most unbuttoned and lyrical. Less an innovator than a celebrant and synthesist, his style--a well rounded compendium ...read more
When three prominent saxophone players come together to honor one of their highly regarded brethren, and include compositions by one of the most revered instrumentalists ever, the listener is in for a treat. So it is with Seraphic Light by Saxophone Summit, led by the trio of Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. Saxophone Summit began in the 1990s with Lovano, Liebman and the late Michael Brecker--three contemporary instrumentalists who revisit the exploratory style of John Coltrane. Their first album, Gathering of Spirits (Telarc, 2004), received many accolades. However, the death of Brecker in early 2007 ...read more
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