Joe Lovano: tenor, soprano saxophone
Lawrence Fields: piano
Peter Slavov: bass
Lamy Istrefi: drums
Is there a more accomplished, expressive and versatile saxophonist on the current jazz scene than Joe Lovano? Since his breakthrough to critical and public acclaim in the 1980s, Lovano has led or participated in countless ensembles of all stylistic stripes. What binds everything together are his extraordinary talents as a spellbinding instrumentalist, distinctive composer and crafty bandleader/band member. Whether playing with cutting edge musicians like Paul Motian and Dave Douglas or traditionalists like Hank Jones and Ray Brown (to name just a handful of the multitudes of significant jazz masters Lovano has been associated with), this Grammy Award-winning saxophonist can’t help but draw attention to his unique artistry.
Lovano is also a musical juggler who now divides his time among a slew of rousing ensembles including Sound Prints, a quintet co-led by the equally adventurous trumpeter Dave Douglas, and The Saxophone Summit with Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane. But one of Lovano’s most satisfying projects is his Classic Quartet, which brings him together with three stars-in-the-making: the pianist Lawrence Fields, the Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, and Lamy Istrefi (a Kosovo transplant) on drums.
Exploring the straight ahead jazz tradition from late swing to bebop, the 2017 edition of the Classic Quartet builds on the superb quartet that Lovano shared with Hank Jones. (That band for the ages–with George Mraz on bass and Lewis Nash on drums–can be heard on the album, „Classic! Live at Newport“ which was recorded in 2005 but released in 2016 on Blue Note.)
No matter the specific personnel of the band, two things are certain: it’s all bound to swing hard, and every note from the mighty Lovano is sure to come straight from the heart.