Monday 19 October 2009

Joe Lovano: Five Star Performance

Joe Lovano is one of the greatest tenor saxophone players right now. So when he was gonna play the Bimhuis I didn't hesitate to get tickets and check him out with one of my best buddies. And he didn't let us down.

Joe Lovano Us Five at Bimhuis Amsterdam, October 16 2009 (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

He may not be the youngest himself anymore but you're just as young as the musicians to play with he must have thought. So he gathered some really talented young musicians for his Us Five project: Esperanza Spalding on bass, James Weidman on piano and Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela on drums. The result was a highly energetic and diverse set. The master himself left plenty of space to his young band members but always in control.

With two drummers you never know how it will turn out. Sometimes they will just play almost the same parts which doesn't really add a lot. This time fortunately these great drummers with different styles were playing around each other all the time, challenging the other one and "fighting" drum solo duels. All musicians were challenged to give their best and the young cats took this chance with both hands. Esperanza Spalding, the little lady she is, was flying over her bass and was swinging with it like it was a feather light instrument. James Weidman seemed to have the most modest role and didn't get as much solo time as the rest. He did make sure everyone could fall back into the theme at the end of their solo.

Joe Lovano himself showed why he is one of the greatest. His sublime solos sounded powerful with lots of variation. He played on his aulochrome which consists of two soprano saxophones that can be played together or seperately. It results in a peculiar sound and a funny twist to the songs.

The last song before the encore "Viva Caruso", a swinging composition with a Latin feel, offers a last chance for all the musicians to showcase their talent. After the encore the fivesome receive a well deserved standing ovation. What a great week for music it has been!


  1. Great gig indeed!

    However, the aulochrome consists of two Soprano's, not tenors ...

  2. I was meaning to write that and even had the wiki article next to it.
    Corrected of course.