Joseph Salvatore Lovano was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 29, 1952 and grew up in a very musical household. His dad, Tony, aka Big T, was a barber by day and a big-toned tenor player at night. “Big T,” along with his brothers Nick and Joe, other tenor players, and Carl, a bebop trumpeter, made sure Joe’s exposure to Jazz and the saxophone were early and constant.
Joe’s mom, Josephine, and her sister Rose were serious listeners, as well, His Mom remembers hearing Big T play opposite Stan Getz and Flip Phillips when they were engaged. And Aunt Rose went to hear Jazz at the Philharmonic with Ella Fitzgerald when they came through Cleveland.
Not surprisingly, Joe began playing the alto at five, switching to the tenor a few years later. By the time he got his driver’s license at sixteen, Joe Lovano was a member of the Musician’s Union, Local 4, and working professionally. He started playing club dates (sometimes subbing for his dad), and Motown cover bands, eventually saving enough money from these gigs to put himself through college.
“My dad was a fantastic saxophone player with a really deep passion for the music. I grew up with his record collection and when I was a teenager, he’d bring me around to rehearsals and jam sessions.”
Saxophonist, Composer, Educator, Recording Artist
Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer and producer Joe Lovano is fearless in finding new modes of artistic expression. With a Grammy Win for his 52nd Street Themes and 14 other nominations, he has won Down Beat Magazine’s Critics and Readers Polls countless times as Tenor Saxophonist, Musician of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year and Triple Crowns from Downbeat. He has also gotten numerous awards from Jazz Times and the Jazz Journalists Association for Tenor Saxophone, Album of the Year and Musician of the Year.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 29, 1952 he attended the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston where years later he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. Since 2001 he has held the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance and is a founding faculty member since 2009 of the Global Jazz Institute at Berklee directed by Danilo Perez. He is a guest lecturer at New York University’s Jazz Program, Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music as well as Clinician at Universities around the globe.
He has toured with jazz greats such as Woody Herman Thundering Herd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jack McDuff, Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Paul Motian Trio, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Carla Bley Band, Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Saxophone Summit and has created a body of work for his own large ensembles including strings, woodwinds, voice as well as his Horn-rich Nonet and more recently his UsFive group with double drummers which has been gathering kudos world-wide!
Since 1991 Lovano has been recording as a leader for Blue Note Records. “Joe Lovano Quartet: Classic! Live at Newport” featuring Hank Jones was recorded in 2005 and released in 2016 marking his 25th recording for the label.
Joe has also performed and recorded with a long list of jazz greats including Woody Herman, Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tony Bennett, Abbey Lincoln, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Gunther Schuller, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Ed Blackwell, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Hank Jones, Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Judi Silvano, Ravi Coltrane, Chucho Valdez, Ornette Coleman and many others.
In addition, composer Mark Anthony Turnage wrote a Concerto for Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra for Joe called “A Man Descending” which has been performed globally and Maestro Michael Abene orchestrated an album of all-Lovano originals called “Symphonica” for the WDR Symphonic Orchestra and Big Band, which was released on Blue Note and received a Grammy nomination.
Joe Lovano continues to explore new horizons within the world of music as a soloist, band leader and composer.
Visit www.joelovano.com for more information about Joe.
Joe plays on Sax Dakota Alto Sax model SDAS-100 and Tenor Sax model SDTS-1022.