INTERVIEW: Joe Lovano on The New Jazz Archive

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Tuesday October 25, 2011


Jeff Haas, the host of IPR’s “The New Jazz Archive,” sits down for a chat with saxophonist Joe Lovano. Lovano has a new album called “Bird Songs.” It’s an album of “re-imagined” versions of Charlie Parker tunes.

JL: Well, I started playing saxophone as a kid and my Dad played saxophone and he heard Charlie Parker play live in the late 40s, early 50s and was one of his disciples, let’s say, and always talked about hearing Bird. And as I was developing on my horn as a young player Charlie Parker’s music and way of playing was the foundations of some of my early studies once I started to be able to play the saxophone a little bit. The melodies and the song structures and the tunes were heavy studies and lessons from me as a young player.

JH: And so your most recent album, you sort of reimagine, to use your word, some of the great music of Charlie Parker and music that’s associated with Parker. What is it about Bird and his music that’s calling you at this point in your career?

JL: You know, studying Bird’s playing and genius on the saxophone is a study that you live with your whole life as a player if you’re hip to it. Charlie Parker’s music is one of the focal points that, you know, you focus on as a player as you develop. Now, his compositions is another story and how you can put them together with your own history and personal background and tell your own story within the compositions, that’s something else. And my current quintet, Us Five, we handle and visit compositions by the Masters as well as my own original compositions. And the quintet, I think, to play Charlie Parker’s music was, like, right on time for me.

To read the full interview and listen to the audio version click here