The Cat With the Hat is Back

No, it’s not a Dr. Seuss sequel. European publisher JazzPrezzo has just published a beautiful book of photos by longtime JT contributing photographer Jimmy Katz, who shot Joe Lovano during various recording sessions for the Blue Note label. The 152- page book Joe Lovano: The Cat With the Hat – The Blue Note Recording Sessions includes candid shots not just of Lovano at work in the studio, but also of collaborators such as Hank Jones, Joey Baron, Cameron Brown, Jason Moran, John Scofield, Dave Holland, Al Foster and many more. The photos are accompanied by various essays (in both German and English) by Lovano and his collaborators, who bring a bit more context and color to the BW photos. In the essay introducing the photos of the ScoLoHoFo sessions, Scofield talks about meeting Lovano at Berklee when they were both around 20 years old. And the typically humble and witty Jones wrote that during a recording session, “Joe had no problem ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ My problem was keeping up with Joe!” Blue Note exec and gourmand Bruce Lundvall confessed that he and Joe often meet for lunch to talk about music projects: “His appetite for new musical directions is only matched by his four-course appetite for good Italian cuisine!”

In addition, the book includes a sampler CD of songs hand-picked by Lovano himself from the recordings so evocatively captured here. But it’s those photos, not the music, that keep you coming back to the book and its pages again and again. Katz, who was certainly influenced by the original Blue Note photographer, Francis Wolff, has clearly evolved a more modern style all his own. There’s a richness and an elegance to the photos that is never contrived. Katz manages to bring a formal beauty to sessions that one must imagine had little of either.

The book is available at Amazon or through the publisher’s site. JazzPrezzo also published Katz’s Jazz in New York . And also out on the market is Blue Note Photography which includes photos from both Katz and Wolff and which was excerpted in the August/September issue of JT.