Joseph Salvatore Lovano was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 29, 1952 and grew up in a very musical household. Joe picked up the alto at five, switching to the tenor a few years later. By the time he got his driver’s license at sixteen, Joe Lovano was a member of the Musician’s Union, Local 4, and working professionally. He started playing club dates (sometimes subbing for his dad), and Motown cover bands, eventually saving enough money from these gigs to put himself through college.
After high school, Joe attended Berklee and his college years were pivotal, a precursor of future collaborations and career opportunities. Joe had been searching for a way to incorporate the fire and spirituality of late-period John Coltrane into more traditional settings and at Berklee, he found it, discovering modal harmony.Twenty years later, Joe Lovano was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from Berklee and an honorary doctorate in 1998. Berklee also awarded Joe its first endowed chair, The Gary Burton Chair for Jazz Performance in 2001.
In 1981, Joe began playing with Paul Motian, in a Trio that included guitarist Bill Frisell. The group has just celebrated their 20th year together. Working with Motian helped Joe gain further exposure and renown, particularly in Europe.
As his reputation escalated, Joe began recording and touring with the major Jazz musicians of the late 20th century, including: Gunther Schuller, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Bobby Hutcherson, Dave Brubeck, Billy Higgins, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Michel Petrucciani, Lee Konitz, Abbey Lincoln, Tom Harrell, McCoy Tyner, Jim Hall, and Bob Brookmeyer, among many others.
In 1991, Joe Lovano signed with Blue Note Records and since then, has been leading his own groups, producing nearly 25 recordings as a leader and becoming one of the great Jazz artists of our time.
In 2000, Joe won the Grammy Award for his 52nd Street Themes album, featuring his Nonet with arrangements of Tadd Dameron’s compositions.
Throughout the 2010’s, Joe toured the world with his Classic Quartet, Trio Tapestry, Us Five, Village Rhythm Band, Sound Prints, The Spring Quartet (with Jack DeJohnette, Esperanza Spalding, and Leo Genovese), Saxophone Summit, with John Scofield, Chucho Valdes, Diana Krall, and many more.
Joe continues to compose and vibrates on tonalities throughout the day and lives a creative life of music. Stay tuned to see and hear what he comes up with next!His latest LP "Garden of Expression" was recorded with a Syos custom for C-soprano saxophone.