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Joe Lovano — Cross Culture (2013)

 Joe Lovano — Cross Culture (2013)

Joe Lovano — Cross Culture
¶   " Lovano . . .fully justifies the growing view of him as an important, world-class jazz talent." — Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
Birth name: Joseph Salvatore Lovano
Born: December 29, 1952, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Location: New York
Album release: January 8, 2013
Record Label: Blue Note Records
Duration:     61:44
01. Blessings In May      (6:17)
02. Myths and Legends      (5:00)
03. Cross Culture      (6:36)
04. In a Spin      (4:29)
05. Star Crossed Lovers      (7:34)
06. Journey Within      (5:41)
07. Drum Chant      (4:22)
08. Golden Horn      (5:18)
09. Royal Roost      (5:55)
10. Modern Man      (2:45)
11. Pm      (7:53)
LaNita Adams  Photography
Otis Brown III  Drums
Greg Calbi  Mastering
Tara Leigh Chiari  Marketing
Steve Cook  A&R
Duke Ellington  Composer
James Farber  Engineer, Mixing
Gordon H. Jee  Creative Director
Willard Jenkins  Liner Notes
Jimmy Katz  Photography
Tom Korkidis  Management, Production Coordination
Lionel Loueke  Guitar (Electric)
Joe Lovano  Arranger, Composer, Gong, Producer, Sax (Tenor), Shaker
Joe Lovano Us Five  Primary Artist
Francisco Mela  Balafon, Drums, Whistle
Hayden Miller  Art Direction, Design
Peter Slavov  Bass
Scott Southard  Management
Esperanza Spalding  Bass
Billy Strayhorn  Composer
Ryan Del Vecchio  A&R
Don Was  A&R
James Weidman  Piano

Joe Lovano plays the tenor saxophone in My Photos by
2013 release, saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano's most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language. The album is an 11 track tour de force that represents I 0 of Lovano's original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad 'Star Crossed Lovers.' The album features his core Us Five ensemble of pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding and Peter Slavov, and drummers Otis Brown and Francisco Mela and is augmented with guitarist and fellow Blue Note artist Lionel Loueke.
Website: http://joelovano.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joelovanojazz#!
Discography (excerpt):
As leader:
Tones, Shapes & Colors (Soul Note, 1985)
Hometown Sessions (JSL, 1986)
Solid Steps (Jazz Club, 1986)
Village Rhythm (Soul Note, 1988)
Worlds (Evidence, 1989)
Landmarks (Blue Note, 1990)
Sounds of Joy (Enja, 1991)
From the Soul (Blue Note, 1991)
Universal Language (Blue Note, 1992)
Tenor Legacy (Blue Note, 1993)
Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1994)
Rush Hour (Blue Note, 1994)
Ten Tales (Sunnyside, 1994)
Celebrating Sinatra (Blue Note, 1996)
Tenor Time (Something Else, 1997)
Flying Colors (Blue Note, 1997) with Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Trio Fascination: Edition One (Blue Note, 1998)
Friendly Fire (Blue Note, 1999) with Greg Osby
52nd Street Themes (Blue Note, 2000)
Flights of Fancy: Trio Fascination Edition Two (Blue Note, 2001)
Viva Caruso (2002)
On This Day ... at the Vanguard (2003)
I'm All for You (2004)
Joyous Encounters (2005)
"Streams of Expression" (2006)
Symphonica (2008)
Folk Art (2009)
Bird Songs (2011) with Us Five
Cross Culture (2013) with Us Five
Review by Matt Collar   (Rating: ***½)
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.
Awards/Billboard albums:
2013   Jazz Albums     #9
2013   Top Heatseekers     #50

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Joe Lovano — Cross Culture (2013)



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