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JOE LOVANO TO RELEASE 23rd BLUE NOTE ALBUM CROSS CULTURE ON JAN. 8 FEATURING ACCLAIMED QUINTET US FIVE PLUS SPECIAL GUEST LIONEL LOUEKE
(Published: October 09, 2012)

On January 8, 2013, living legend saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano will release Cross Culture, his 23rd Blue Note recording and the third consecutive release by his critically acclaimed quintet, Us Five. The album is an 11-track tour de force that presents 10 of Lovano's original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad "Star Crossed Lovers."

Augmenting his core group (pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding or Peter Slavov, and drummers Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela) with the daring West African guitarist-and fellow Blue Note artist-Lionel Loueke, Lovano delivers his most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language.

"Since I started to tour in the late ‘70s, I've collected instruments from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and North and South America," says Lovano, who, in addition to his instantly recognizable tenor saxophone, improvises on G-mezzo soprano, tarogato, and aulochrome, and plays an array of percussion-bells and shakers, an Israeli paddle drum, and a Nigerian slit drum called an oborom. "I've spent a lifetime feeling the passion of experiencing the spirits in the sounds of the collective ancestors in these instruments, creating music but feeling like the earth. It's coming through in my compositions and in the way we play together."

Loueke, who himself combines exhaustive knowledge of harmony and folk forms, contributes seamlessly and egolessly to six pieces. "Lionel doesn't just play the guitar," Lovano says. "He freely integrates himself with the rhythm section and with me in the front line, and shares the space in a personal way."

The album ends with an expansive performance of Lovano's original "PM," inspired by master drummer-composer Paul Motian, his frequent collaborator from 1981 until his death two months before the recording. Like everything that has preceded it, the performance, in Lovano's words, "combines the harmonic and rhythmic structures of modern jazz in a free-flowing way, with a tribal energy, tying together things about the world of music, beyond just categories of jazz."

The track listing for Cross Culture is as follows:

1. Blessings In May
2. Myths And Legends
3. Cross Culture
4. In A Spin
5. Star Crossed Lovers
6. Journey Within
7. Drum Chant
8. Golden Horn
9. Royal Roost
10. Modern Man
11. PM


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