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Joe Lovano Gets Universal

The vaunted saxophonist debuts a new, wide-ranging octet at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Joe Lovano at the 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival
Joe Lovano at the 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival (photo: Steven Hauptman)

“A lot of times, I think jazz is too restricted to a style,” saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano says. “When you’re a younger player, you study styles, and you have to play in styles because you don’t know anything else. As you develop as an improviser, those things are inside your playing, and you relate to the moment. It’s a freer-flowing expression.”

This weekend (Oct. 18 and 19) in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room in New York, Lovano will undoubtedly be relating to many moments—and roaming both within and beyond styles—as he unveils his latest group, the Joe Lovano Universal Jazz Ensemble. Its lineup may induce double-takes in some observers: vocalist Judi Silvano (also Lovano’s wife), trumpeter Graham Haynes, guitarist Liberty Ellman, pianist and longtime Lovano colleague Kenny Werner, bassist John Patitucci, and a drumming duo of some note, Andrew Cyrille and Tyshawn Sorey.

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Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.