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 DownBeat magazine ’s Critics and Readers Polls countless times as tenor saxophonist, musician of the year and jazz album of the year from DownBeat. He has also received awards from Jazz Times and the Jazz Journalists Association for best tenor saxophone, album of the year and musician of the year.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 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 Pérez. 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.
From 1991 through 2016, Lovano released an unprecedented 25 records as a leader for the historic Blue Note label. “Joe Lovano Quartet: Classic! Live at Newport” featuring Hank Jones was released in 2016 to critical acclaim. In 2019, Lovano released his debut album as a bandleader on ECM Records, “Trio Tapestry,” with Marilyn Crispell and Carmen Castaldi. Over the next few years, Lovano saw the release of three additional ECM Records albums: “ROMA,” a collaboration with Enrico Rava; “Arctic Riff,” a special guest appearance with the Marcin Wasilewski Trio, and the sophomore release from Lovano’s Trio Tapestry, “Gardens of Expression.” Most recently, he released his third album with Sound Prints, a quintet he co-leads with trumpeter Dave Douglas.
In addition, composer Mark-Anthony Turnage wrote a concerto for saxophone and chamber orchestra for Lovano 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.
Lovano has performed and recorded with a long list of jazz greats including Woody Herman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, 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 Valdés, Ornette Coleman, Diana Krall and many others. Lovano has created an extensive body of work for his own ensembles including strings, woodwinds, his horn-rich nonet, the Classic Quartet, Trio Tapestry and more.
Lovano continues to explore new horizons within the world of music as a soloist, bandleader and composer.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.