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Joe Lovano Covers Getz’s Focus

Saxophonist Joe Lovano’s little-known stint playing Gene Simmons in a KISS cover band just didn’t work out. He isn’t a bassist and he couldn’t stand the leather and makeup. His tongue is better used on the reed than it is as a gimmick anyway. But Lovano (pictured) hasn’t lost the let’s-salute-great-artists vibe.

At 8:15 p.m. on Mon., Apr. 29 Lovano and the Berklee String Orchestra will take to the Berklee Performance Center’s stage and play Stan Getz’s favorite album, Focus, an album Getz recorded himself in 1961. Stan always did like himself a whole lot, or so I’ve heard. I’ll be damned if he couldn’t blow a controlled, melodic line through a tenor like no other, however, so his egotism was justified.

Third-stream maestro Eddie Sauter wrote and arranged all of Focus, and the orchestra, conducted by Berklee faculty member Eugene Friesen, will stay true to Sauter’s arrangements in true tribute-band fashion. Plus, Lovano has already shown that he likes to wear his sunglasses at night, just like Stan did. That’s a little more manageable than all that makeup.

Breaking free from the props-giving vibe, Lovano and the orchestra will follow Focus with a version of “‘Round Midnight” arranged by Greg Hopkins, another able Berklee faculty member. And then they’ll play an original composition by Berklee student Mads Tolling. After that the strings will take off and Lovano will perform in a trio format with more Berklee professors: bassist Bruce Gertz and drummer Joe Hunt. As if the audience won’t already have gotten their money’s worth, Lovano will also direct several of his own Berklee students in a small ensemble performance. Boy, who isn’t a Berklee professor these days?

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for seniors. For ticket information, please call (617) 747-2261.

Focus tracklist:

I’m Late, I’m Late



I Remember When

Night Rider

Once Upon a Time

Originally Published