Joe Lovano Us Five Featuring James Weidman, Esperanza Spalding, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela, Monday, January 28


Joe Lovano Us Five
Featuring James Weidman, Esperanza Spalding, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela
Monday, January 28
Kuumbwa Jazz

“… punchy post-bop…” - The New York Times

Joe Lovano is among the most prolific of today’s saxophonists. His musical curiosity knows no limits. From greasy, funky grooves to straight-ahead swinging, detouring into avant-garde escapades, Lovano’s intuitive musicianship enriches any style of music. His current group, Us Five, is unusual for its use of two drummers. The poly-rhythmic duo drumming of Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela provides a highly percussive framework for Lovano and pianist James Weidman, along with bassist Esperanza Spalding, to unleash their imaginative improvisations.  The aptly named Cross Culture (Blue Note) set to released in January 2013, is Us Five’s third CD, and Lovano’s 23rd for the label.

Us Five surfaced in 2009 as a different kind of vehicle for Lovano’s musical explorations, and to highlight the musicianship of a younger generation:  James Weidman’s piano virtuosity; the deft bass lines of Grammy award winner Esperanza Spaulding; and the dueling rhythms of drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela. Lovano’s love of percussion is reflected, existing right along side his penchant for melodic invention. The son of a tenor saxophonist, Lovano grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. At age five, he started alto saxophone lessons eventually switching to tenor. By high school, he was playing semi-professionally, earning money to put himself through college. After attending Boston’s Berklee School of Music, Lovano landed his first major jazz gig with Hammond B-3 great Dr. Lonnie Smith, and later, Brother Jack McDuff, another legend of the B-3. Arriving in New York City in the mid-70s, Lovano was hired for Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd 40th Anniversary Celebration, and shared the stage with his saxophone heroes, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Flip Phillips, and Al Cohn. He toured with Woody for three years before joining Mel Lewis’ Jazz Orchestra, and played in a number of other large ensembles led by Carla Bley, Bob Brookmeyer, Gunther Schuller, and Charlie Haden. Beginning in 1981, Lovano became a member of drummer Paul Motian’s quirky, free improv trio, with guitarist Bill Frisell, an association that lasted over two decades.

In 1989, Lovano joined guitarist John Scofield’s quartet for a long and artistically fruitful stint. Scofield’s group, featuring bassist Dennis Irwin and young drumming “phenom” Bill Stewart, exposed Lovanoe’s robust playing to a larger audience. By the ’90s, his career had caught fire. High profile gigs followed with Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Brubeck, Elvin Jones, Dave Holland, and many other top jazz artists. Since signing with Blue Note Records in 1991, Lovano has recorded over two dozen recordings, becoming one of the most recorded, and acclaimed, saxophonists in recent decades.  Blue Note CEO Emeritus Bruce Lundvall sums it up best when he says, “The first time I heard Joe Lovano I felt that he was the most creative and hard swinging tenor player I’d heard in years… (he’s) a full-fledged giant of jazz.”

Joe Lovano Us Five

DATE: Monday, January 28, 2013
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $25/Adv $28/Door, No Comps
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Rob Hughes
(978) 283-2883

# # #









Category: Press Releases · Tags:

Stay Connected

Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr
Tumblr Kuumbwa Jazz Blog RSS FeedInstagram