Joe Lovano: Bird Songs
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Joe Lovano
SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director

Joe Lovano: Bird Songs

APR 23–26 | SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director Joe Lovano

Apr 24
Miner Auditorium
FriApr 24
7:30 PM

$25 | $45 | $65

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As the centenary of Charlie Parker’s birth approaches, Lovano unleashes his Us Five combo on Bird’s music. Don’t expect to hear standard bebop. Just as Parker (born August 29, 1920, and known as “Bird”) turned jazz in new directions at the dawn of the bebop era, Lovano now propels Parker’s iconic tunes to unexpected places. Us Five – a fabulous band built around a pair of drummers — will dip into its 2011 Bird Songs album (on Blue Note), which reconfigured a dozen tunes associated with Parker, the revolutionary saxophonist and composer.

In the hands of Us Five, those speeding bebop numbers become spacious and eclectic, “busting out of genres and riding on a world of percussion” (San Jose Mercury News). Us Five is an elastic band: Stop-and-start free-bop segues to Afro-Caribbean grooves, giving way to spiritualized hymns reminiscent of John Coltrane. As The New York Times said in its review of Bird Songs, Lovano approaches Parker’s repertory “as a springboard rather than an altar.” On “Birdyard” – his deconstruction of Parker’s “Yardbird Suite” — Lovano plays the aulochrome, a double-barreled soprano saxophone. It allows him to improvise dueling melodic lines, turning Parker’s bebop into a new kind of whirling dervish conception.

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Lovano’s father, saxophonist Tony “Big T” Lovano, was a huge Parker fan – and made sure that young Joe imbibed the master’s music. As he matured as a saxophonist, Joe came to see that Bird’s revolution had paved the way for what came after: Sonny Rollins, Coltrane, Ornette Coleman. With Us Five, Lovano aims to “reimagine Bird’s tunes in today’s atmosphere,” he explains. His bandmates -- pianist James Weidman, bassist Peter Slavov and drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III -- engage him in a free-flowing conversation of the imagination. It’s serious fun.

Not just a stunning celebration of Parker's music, but a salute to the sax giants – Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter – who were liberated by it.

The Guardian

Not just a stunning celebration of Parker's music, but a salute to the sax giants – Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter – who were liberated by it.

The Guardian

Personnel

Joe Lovano tenor & soprano saxophones
James Wildeman piano
Peter Slavov bass
Otis Brown III drums
Francisco Mela drums

It's tricky to pay your respects without sounding like an imitation. But saxophonist Joe Lovano took a different path: He's broken down and rebuilt something new from the art of an icon.

NPR

Personnel

Joe Lovano tenor & soprano saxophones
James Wildeman piano
Peter Slavov bass
Otis Brown III drums
Francisco Mela drums

It's tricky to pay your respects without sounding like an imitation. But saxophonist Joe Lovano took a different path: He's broken down and rebuilt something new from the art of an icon.

NPR

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