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Joe Lovano

This year has been very rich in musical performances, and as is often the case, I'm behind in writing about them. Two weeks ago Ravi Coltrane had a residency at SF Jazz to comemorate the 50th Anniversary of his father's landmark recording, A Love Supreme. The Thursday show featured Joe Lovano, Geri Allen, Drew Gress on bass, and Ralph Peterson on drums. The music was evocative of A Love Supreme, without being imitative. I first saw Ravi at a late night jam session in Paris 20 years ago at an Antonio Hart gig. Betty Carter and Jacky Terrasson also sat in. Being named after two of the greatest musicians of the 20th century is a lot to live up to. It's taken Ravi a while to come into his own, but he's done it. He is relaxed with his legacy, and what he can contribute to it. Loving has been a master for years, and they play off each other beautifully, with Lovano channeling the whole history of the music. I recently discovered a Lovano recording, Symphonic, with a big band and orchestra live in Europe. Highly recommended. In the coming year I'll write more about recordings in addition to live shows. Peace!
I was driving across town a few weeks ago, listening to KCSM. An amazing version of Mingus' "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" came on. The tenor player was modern, but I couldn't quite place him. There was a full orchestra and big band, and it was obviously a live concert recording. The KCSM playlist showed it as Joe Lovano, from the album Symphonica. It was recorded in 2005 at with the Cologne Radio WDR Big Band and Orchestra, and released on Blue Note in 2009. Somehow I had missed it. It's a spectacular record, and Lovano's playing is lush and assured. Most of the tunes are his, spanning a 20 year period. Emperor Jones, Eternal Joy, Alexander the Great, His Dreams, The Dawn of Time, and I'm All for You (the changes to Body and Soul!) The arrangements are by Michael Abene , a long time friend of Joe's, who is the musical director for the WDR Big Band and Orchestra. They both know the entire history of the music, and add to it. Check it out!
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