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Jazz - Released April 7, 2015 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Distinctions Sélection JAZZ NEWS - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Named after Wayne Shorter's classic composition "Footprints," the Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas quintet Sound Prints is a collaborative ensemble born out of the duo's involvement in the 2008 SFJAZZ Collective's tribute concert to legendary jazz saxophonist Shorter. Inspired to continue the creative spark they ignited at that event, saxophonist Lovano and trumpeter Douglas conceived of a group that would play original compositions, as well as new material from Shorter. The group's 2015 concert album, Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, showcases their debut appearance at the famed jazz event. Joining Lovano and Douglas here are pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Joey Baron. That each of these musicians could easily lead their own band only adds to Sound Prints' depth as an ensemble. However, rather than coming off as a jazz supergroup, Sound Prints feel like an organic unit of like-minded individuals working toward creating something new. Along with the palpable Shorter influence, they also recall the ruminative experimentalism of the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and his 5tet from the early '90s. To these ends, cuts like the fractured title track and the rambunctious, stream of conscious "Weatherman," combine the free bop of Ornette Coleman's '60s quartet with the expressive earthiness of Douglas' own work with his Tiny Bell Trio. Similarly, the evocative, bluesy "Spirits" brings to mind late-'60s Miles Davis, while the Latin-esque "Power Ranger" recalls latter-day John Coltrane. Elsewhere, Douglas and Lovano deliver two previously unheard Shorter pieces with the sultry, introspective "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" and the languid "Destination Unknown." Ultimately, Sound Prints walk the line between muscular, tangible post-bop and free-flowing, avant-garde playing; a tantalizing dance that never fails to leave an impression. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 25, 2019 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Even if his name has appeared on multiple ECM albums (John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson, Steve Kuhn, Paul Motian, etc.), Joe Lovano has until now never had the chance to be the leader of a record for Manfred Eicher’s label. At 66 years old, the saxophonist from Cleveland is finally the boss on Trio Tapestry which has been put together with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi. It’s a formation without a double bass that offers the inner pow-er of an orchestra. Less voluble than usual, here Lovano throws himself into quite intimate narratives. “This trio”, he stated, “is a melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical tapestry which creates moods and atmospheres.” This group is above all an ambassador for a colorful style of jazz. Spirituality and calmness underline each improvisation. We continue to wonder as to why Crispell isn’t a more well-know and praised musician. Following in the footsteps of Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor, she brings her piano into contemporary music territory laced with lyricism and proves that she is an essential member of this group which is equipped with a stunning creative force. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

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What if Trio Tapestry was one of the most crucial outfits in all of Joe Lovano's long career? A year after a first album for ECM, the Cleveland saxophonist has reunited with his two accomplices, pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi, for an even more moving recording. Upon the release of the first, Lovano had described this Trio as "a melodic, harmonic, rhythmic musical tapestry throughout, sustaining moods and atmospheres.” Trio Tapestry, above all, had all the hallmarks of a spirited piece of jazz. With this Garden of Expression, spirituality and calm once again underline each improvisation. Lovano, who writes all the compositions, is never a lider maximo but one third of a tightly-welded unit. A unique voice driven by a desire for purity. In what is unspoken, in the notes that are left unplayed, Crispell displays astounding precision. The depth of the playing of this unfairly underestimated pianist has rarely reached such a level. In terms of restraint too, Lovano blows a light wind of saving serenity in these turbulent times (the album is dedicated to the victims of Covid): a breeze that does good and is felt as a welcome pause for recollection. Wonderful. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released December 14, 2018 | ECM

Even if his name has appeared on multiple ECM albums (John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson, Steve Kuhn, Paul Motian, etc.), Joe Lovano has until now never had the chance to be the leader of a record for Manfred Eicher’s label. At 66 years old, the saxophonist from Cleavland is finally the boss on Trio Tapestry which has been put together with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi. It’s a formation without a double bass that offers the inner power of an orchestra. Less voluble than usual, here Lovano throws himself into quite intimate narratives. “This trio”, he stated, “is a melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical tapestry which creates moods and atmospheres.” This group is above all an ambassador for a colourful style of jazz. Spirituality and calmness underline each improvisation. We continue to wonder as to why Crispell isn’t a more well-know and praised musician. Following in the footsteps of Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor, she brings her piano into contemporary music territory laced with lyricism and proves that she is an essential member of this group which is equipped with a stunning creative force. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

Bringing to mind a superb mix of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, I'm All for You finds forward-thinking saxophonist Joe Lovano expertly balancing heartfelt melodicism and cerebral harmonic improvisation. Easily one of Lovano's most listenable endeavors, the ballads-oriented album pulls no punches and simply allows you to sit back and enjoy a master play at his utter best. Joining him is journeyman pianist Hank Jones, who brings his urbane touch to such classic standards as "Don't Blame Me" and "Like Someone in Love." Rounding out the ensemble are longtime Lovano associates bassist George Mraz and drummer Paul Motian, who lend an egoless mentality to the proceedings, helping to emphasize lush group interplay over individual pyrotechnics. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

Joe Lovano's joint project with the vaunted WDR Big Band & Rudfunk Orchester from Germany (recorded live in concert on November 26, 2005, aside from the studio track "His Dreams") is one of many collaborations combining an American jazz artist with the horns and strings of this classically oriented, jazz-informed orchestra. Randy Brecker's project with WDR on Some Skunk Funk and brother Michael fronting the group of Claus Ogerman on Cityscape come immediately to mind as parallels. Symphonica is Lovano's 20th recording for the Blue Note label, and his fourth orchestral project. What the saxophonist does in working with this group and the arrangements of veteran Michael Abene allows space for breathing, emotional range, and expansive palette colors that a small ensemble cannot attain. Splitting time between tenor and soprano, Lovano personally can't be matched by any contemporary player, and merges well with the strings, oboes, and brass players in WDR that are featured in certain well-regulated spots. It is also evident that the tone, ideas, and clarity of Lovano's style get better with age. Another aspect is that WDR do not play staid or rote music. The opener, "Emperor Jones" (dedicated to Elvin Jones), combines all the elegant elements of orchestral and jazz musics beautifully, not as cerebral, but as if they were always meant to be together. Listen to the shout choruses and quirky and kinetic neo-bop stance to hard bop swinging on "Alexander the Great," the darting and bobbing harder-edged choppy contemporary funk with electric guitar and piano during "The Dawn of Time," or the classic siren song treatment drenched in oboe and clarinet of the very interesting new version of "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love." Clearly the stamp of Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Gil Evans is firmly embossed on all of this music. Lovano's soprano work deserves further attention, as he blends hip and heavy phrases with the band on the funky modal 6/8 unison lines of "Eternal Joy," and is involved in more intricate weavings of modified tints on the atmospheric waltz "His Dreams." Strings sigh and pine during "I'm All for You," a Lovano original love song -- based on the changes of the famous "Body and Soul" -- that has tuneful potential to be a future standard. This is a completely realized, well-exercised, and thoughtfully programmed recording. Most should expect nothing less from Lovano and the WDR Big Band & Rudfunk Orchester. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Joe Lovano welcomes Joshua Redman to his sextet set (which also features pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash and percussionist Don Alias) and, rather than jam on standards, Joe Lovano composed five new originals, revived three obscurities and only chose to perform two familiar pieces. By varying the styles and instrumentation (for example "Bread and Wine" does not have piano or bass), Lovano has created a set with a great deal of variety and some surprising moments. The two tenors (who have distinctive sounds) work together fine and some chances are taken. This matchup works well. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Blue Note Records

Named Jazz Album of the Year by readers of Downbeat Magazine, this double CD features tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano during two appearances at the Village Vanguard recorded ten months apart. Other than the leader, the pair of quartets are completely different and they bring out two sides of Lovano. The earlier session features the leader in a stimulating piano-less quartet, matching wits and creativity with flügelhornist Tom Harrell. While the music is closer to Ornette Coleman than to Gerry Mulligan (to name two famous pianoless groups), Harrell's tone more closely resembles Chuck Mangione than Don Cherry although fortunately he is much more inventive. The four Lovano originals are adventurous and all of the musicians sound as if they are stretching themselves. The second disc showcases Lovano in a more conventional quartet. The repertoire (just one original this time) covers John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Gordon Jenkins and finds the tenorman displaying his roots in Sonny Rollins. The rhythm section on the later date (pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Lewis Nash) is excellent at accompanying (rather than challenging) Lovano. In both cases, Joe Lovano is heard in prime form, making this an easily recommended two-fer. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 6, 2018 | Greenleaf Music

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records

The latest CD by jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano blends New York attitude with Midwestern warmth in an homage to the Manhattan street where bebop ruled in the '50s and '60s. The music here, like that of such other thematic Lovano albums as Rush Hour (his 1995 celebration of third-stream music) and Celebrating Sinatra, evokes the past without being at all archival. Fronting a four-man sax section, Lovano blasts through such strong Dameronia as "The Scene Is Clean" and "Tadd's Delight," refreshes the indelible lyricism of Dameron's lovely "If You Could See Me Now," and, in an intimate duet with pianist John Hicks, velvetizes Billy Strayhorn's lush "Passion Flower." It also features Miles Davis' early "Sippin' at Bells"; Lovano's homage to Charlie Parker, the complex "Charlie Chan," a three-way saxophone conversation between Lovano and fellow tenormen George Garzone and Ralph Lalama that's punctuated by Lewis Nash's pinpoint drums; "Abstractions on 52nd Street," Lovano's extrapolation and embellishment of a Thelonious Monk line; and George Gershwin's "Embraceable You," plushly orchestrated by Willie "Face" Smith and lovingly performed by Lovano. Others contributing sax are Gary Smulyan (baritone) and Steve Slagle (alto); Tim Hagans and Conrad Herwig play trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Dennis Irwin handles bass. Like many other Lovano records, this hews close to tradition but updates it effectively. Besides the fervor of the playing -- Smith says he would've played saxophone, but these New York players were much better prepared -- the song selection is astute, Lovano's originals are solid, and Smith's sole compositional contribution, "Deal," is tasty indeed. © Carlo Wolff /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Continuing the elegant group interplay explored on 2004's I'm All for You, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Hank Jones reunite on Joyous Encounter. Recorded right after finishing the tour in support of the group's aforementioned first outing, Joyous Encounter features a quartet with obvious love for each other and the sound they make together. Once again backed by the stellar rhythm section of bassist George Mraz and drummer Paul Motian, Lovano and Jones showcase their kindred musical spirits with a warm and pleasing mix of deft melodiscm and supple harmony. Expanding upon the ballads-only concept of their previous encounter, this Joyous Encounter finds the ensemble tackling a wide swath of improvisational territory from the urbanely swinging Lovano original "Bird's Eye View," to Thelonious Monk's lightly elegiac "Pannonica," Thad Jones' sweetly gorgeous "A Child Is Born," and even John Coltrane's other classic, the plaintive "Crescent." © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 22, 1991 | Blue Note Records

Although the title of this CD makes it sound as if tenor-saxophonist Joe Lovano was performing veteran jazz classics on this date, all but one of the ten songs played by his quintet are actually Lovano originals. With strong assistance provided by guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Ken Werner, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Bill Stewart, Lovano often sounds like a mixture of Dewey Redman and early John Coltrane on his enjoyable set. His music has enough variety to hold one's interest, Abercrombie is in particularly strong form and Lovano is consistently creative during the modern mainstream music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Blue Note Records

Joe Lovano heads a lineup with pianist Michel Petrucciani, bassist Dave Holland, and late drummer Ed Blackwell. It's hard-edged, explosive playing all around, with Blackwell laying down his patented bombs while Petrucciani and Holland converge behind Lovano's dynamic solos. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 29, 2021 | ECM

Booklet
What if Trio Tapestry was one of the most crucial outfits in all of Joe Lovano's long career? A year after a first album for ECM, the Cleveland saxophonist has reunited with his two accomplices, pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi, for an even more moving recording. Upon the release of the first, Lovano had described this Trio as "a melodic, harmonic, rhythmic musical tapestry throughout, sustaining moods and atmospheres.” Trio Tapestry, above all, had all the hallmarks of a spirited piece of jazz. With this Garden of Expression, spirituality and calm once again underline each improvisation. Lovano, who writes all the compositions, is never a lider maximo but one third of a tightly-welded unit. A unique voice driven by a desire for purity. In what is unspoken, in the notes that are left unplayed, Crispell displays astounding precision. The depth of the playing of this unfairly underestimated pianist has rarely reached such a level. In terms of restraint too, Lovano blows a light wind of saving serenity in these turbulent times (the album is dedicated to the victims of Covid): a breeze that does good and is felt as a welcome pause for recollection. Wonderful. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Joe Lovano's third album featuring his Us Five quintet, 2013's Cross Culture, furthers the adventurous collective aesthetic the saxophonist developed on 2009's Folk Art and 2011's Bird Songs. Once again working with drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III, pianist James Weidman, and bassist Esperanza Spalding, Lovano also employs bassist Peter Slavov on a few tracks here, as well as West African guitarist Lionel Loueke. The result is an album of exploratory jazz that is often more about group interplay on various musical themes rather than straightforward improvisation on melodic compositions -- though there is that, too. Tracks like the frenetic "In a Spin" and the sinewy, rambling "Journey Within" sound like Lovano and Loueke might have written them on the spot together and, though thoughtfully composed, evince a conversational, stream-of-consciousness approach. Elsewhere, cuts like the ruminative and languid "Journey Within" and the atmospheric, dreamlike "Golden Horn" move back and forth from group interplay to extended solo sections. The musical boundary-crossing title of the album takes on more significance on "Drum Chant," in which Mela, playing the West African balafon (a kind of wooden xylophone), and Brown build an insistent rhythmic palette over which Lovano and Loueke add their knotty, free-leaning improvisational lines. Interestingly, Lovano switches to the double-soprano "autochrome" for his solo on "In a Spin," creating a bright, almost atonal sound that jumps out at you halfway through the track. The autochrome's sound also acts as a kind of response to Loueke's harplike, synthesizer-esque guitar style. In fact, both Loueke and Spalding utilize a percussive style here that complements the two-drummer approach and allows Lovano, who has always leaned more on the rhymically slippery, harmonically advanced end of the spectrum, a large musical bed to spring from. Ultimately, that's what Cross Culture is all about. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 25, 2019 | ECM

Booklet
Even if his name has appeared on multiple ECM albums (John Abercrombie, Marc Johnson, Steve Kuhn, Paul Motian, etc.), Joe Lovano has until now never had the chance to be the leader of a record for Manfred Eicher’s label. At 66 years old, the saxophonist from Cleveland is finally the boss on Trio Tapestry which has been put together with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi. It’s a formation without a double bass that offers the inner power of an orchestra. Less voluble than usual, here Lovano throws himself into quite intimate narratives. “This trio”, he stated, “is a melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical tapestry which creates moods and atmospheres.” This group is above all an ambassador for a colorful style of jazz. Spirituality and calmness underline each improvisation. We continue to wonder as to why Crispell isn’t a more well-know and praised musician. Following in the footsteps of Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor, she brings her piano into contemporary music territory laced with lyricism and proves that she is an essential member of this group which is equipped with a stunning creative force. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released December 31, 1986 | Soul Note

Joe Lovano's recorded debut as a leader features the tenor in a quartet with pianist Ken Werner, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Mel Lewis. Together, they perform three originals apiece by the leader and Werner. None of the tunes are simple or based on the chords of standards, but although they did not catch on, the interplay by the musicians, the excellent pacing of tempos and moods, and the consistently satisfying solos make this a set worth searching for. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Blue Note Records

Joe Lovano has been sufficiently forward-looking to have earned the right to look backward on his 22nd album for Blue Note Records, marking his 20th anniversary with the label. Bird Songs presents songs associated with, written for, and, primarily, written by Bird, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. Lovano employs his group Us Five, which includes pianist James Weidman, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and two drummers, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela. Lovano himself plays tenor saxophone for the most part, not alto, which Parker did. That's an immediate hint to his approach. These may be Bird songs, but they are not played the way Bird played them. Lovano and crew tend to slow them down and consider them, as if appending musical footnotes; if Parker was the quintessential bebop player, this is a determinedly post-bop interpretation. Of course, the instrumentation has a lot to do with it, especially the busy clatter set up by the two drummers. The sound is spare enough to give Lovano plenty of room to explore Parker's themes or, in "Lover Man," to reconsider Parker's treatment of a standard. It all comes together in the 12-minute "Yardbird Suite" at the end, which affords both Weidman and Spalding room for their own statements. It's not surprising that Lovano, born the year before Charlie Parker died, would be so thoroughly familiar with his work and so willing to redefine it. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 29, 2016 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

Viva Caruso is easily one of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano's most ambitious and enjoyable recordings. Much like Terence Blanchard's Jazz in Film or Uri Caine's Urlicht/Primal Light, Viva Caruso finds the reedman adapting orchestral melodies and harmonies to a jazz format. Inspired after reading a biography about Italian tenor and opera legend Enrico Caruso, Lovano spent most of 2000 through 2001 researching Caruso's music and developing this project. There is a progressive, third stream appeal to Viva Caruso, with the various instruments laying down intricate counter-melodies and liquid, pulsating rhythms. For example, "Vesto La Giubba" from Pagliacci is slowed down here into a kind of folk-jazz meditation, not unlike something Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio might do. Likewise, "Campane a Sera" features a pretty flute introduction to a very mid-'50s, Stan Kenton-style arrangement, and Gerald Wilson could very easily have scored "Soltano a Te" with its characteristically West Coast, neo-phonic horn sounds. Not wanting to merely focus on the arias Caruso is famous for, Lovano reworks many of the songs the singer recorded that are compiled on the Nimbus CD Caruso in Song. Most of these sides were originally arranged with a small wind ensemble, a format which Lovano employs on the original composition "Streets of Naples," a street party-like tango featuring accordion accents. One of the real revelations on the album is how comfortably much of Caruso's popular oeuvre adjusts to jazz improvisation. "Santa Lucia," with its tropical-island carnival atmosphere, features Lovano in a tenor, bass, and drum format reminiscent of Saxophone Colossus-era Sonny Rollins. Similarly, the spirit of Joe Henderson permeates the airy and lithe "O Sole Mio." © TiVo

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