Cross Culture Joe Lovano
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- 1Blessings In May06:18
- 2Myths And Legends04:59
- 3Cross Culture06:35
- 4In A Spin04:29
- 5Star Crossed Lovers07:34
- 6Journey Within05:41
- 7Drum Chant04:21
- 8Golden Horn05:17
- 9Royal Roost05:54
- 10Modern Man02:43
Info for Cross Culture
Saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano released "Cross Culture", his 23rd Blue Note recording and the third consecutive release by his critically acclaimed quintet, Us Five.
Cross Culture is an 11-track tour de force that presents 10 of Lovano’s original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad “Star Crossed Lovers.” Augmenting his core group (pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding or Peter Slavov, and drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela) with the daring West African guitarist – and fellow Blue Note artist – Lionel Loueke, Lovano delivers his most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language.
“Since I started to tour in the late ‘70s, I’ve collected instruments from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and North and South America,” says Lovano, who, in addition to his instantly recognizable tenor saxophone, improvises on G-mezzo soprano, tarogato, and aulochrome, and plays an array of percussion – bells and shakers, an Israeli paddle drum, and a Nigerian slit drum called an oborom. “I’ve spent a lifetime feeling the passion of experiencing the spirits in the sounds of the collective ancestors in these instruments, creating music but feeling like the earth. It’s coming through in my compositions and in the way we play together.”
Loueke, who himself combines exhaustive knowledge of harmony and folk forms, contributes seamlessly and egolessly to six pieces. “Lionel doesn’t just play the guitar,” Lovano says. “He freely integrates himself with the rhythm section and with me in the front line, and shares the space in a personal way.”
"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, AMG)
Joe Lovano, tenor and G mezzo-soprano saxophone, aulochrome, tárogató, oborom drum, gongs, shakers, puddle drums
James Weidman, piano
Lionel Loueke, guitar (on tracks 2 3 4 6 7 11)
Esperanza Spalding, bass (on tracks 1 5 8 10)
Peter Slavov, bass (on tracks 2 3 4 8 9 11)
Otis Brown III, drums
Francisco Mela, drums, balafon, whistle
Recorded January 12–15, 2012 at Sear Sound, New York, NY
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York, NY
Produced by Joe Lovano
is a Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger. Down Beat magazine has twice named him Jazz Artist of the Year, and he scored a prestigious trifecta in 1998: nominations for Musician of the Year, Improviser of the Year, and Best Tenor Saxophonist in the New York Jazz Awards. He also topped both the Down Beat readers and critics polls as Tenor Player of the Year in 2000. Lovano attended Berklee in the early 1970s and received an honorary doctor of music degree from the college in 1998. In the fall of 2001 he began a prestigious teaching residency in the Berklee Ensemble Department, known as the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance. Since joining the Berklee faculty, the Blue Note artist has several albums as a leader and appeared on dozens of other recordings. He is also a faculty member in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. Lovano has collaborated with many legendary musicians, including McCoy Tyner, Hank Jones, Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Branford Marsalis, Jim Hall, and Paul Motian.
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