Litchfield Jazz Festival & Jazz Camp

Festival History

Joe Lovano Nonet

Joe Lovano Nonet

Photo By Jimmy Katz

Joe Lovano Nonet

Photo By Jimmy Katz

ARTIST TALK: Joe Lovano will be joining Artist-in-Residence, Matt Wilson, in an artist talk with Jimmy Heath on Sunday from 2:30 - 3:15 PM in the Artist Talk Tent on the grounds of the Litchfield Jazz Festival.  All ticket holders are welcome to attend.


You might think by glancing over the list of accolades garnered by Grammy-winning saxophonist/composer Joe Lovano that this renowned musician has found an established formula for success – and that he has. But, the secret to his success is a fearless ability to push his conceptual and thematic choices in a quest for new modes of expression. Since the late 1980s, Lovano has been one of the world's premiere tenor saxophone players who has had eight Grammy nominations and a Grammy award in the Best Large Ensemble category for Kids: Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Lovano is perennially on the top in critics and reader’s polls.

Lovano was born in Cleveland in 1952 and began playing alto saxophone as a child. His father, tenor saxophonist Tony “Big T” Lovano, schooled Joe and regularly exposed him to live performances of jazz artists such as Sonny Stitt, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Lovano developed further at Berklee College of Music where he worked with Jack McDuff and Dr. Lonnie Smith and then served a big band apprenticeship with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd and the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

Joe Lovano continues to grow and explore as a musician. In the early ‘80s he began working in John Scofield’s quartet and a bass-less trio with Paul Motian and Bill Frisell. He maintains enduring partnerships with Scofield and Motian, having participated in some of their more noteworthy projects. His live work now focuses on his Quartet, Nonet and groups like the SFO Jazz Collective. Among his most acclaimed albums are Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard and 52nd Street Themes, with the Nonet. In the late 1990s, he formed the Saxophone Summit with Dave Liebman and Michael Brecker. In 2006 he released Streams of Expression, with the help of Gunther Schuller who contributed his "Birth of The Cool Suite". He played tenor on the critically acclaimed McCoy Tyner album Quartet in 2007 and, in that same year released Kids with Hank Jones.

Joe Lovano plays his own series saxophone, the Borgani-Lovano, which uses Pearl-Silver Alloy with Gold 24K keys. His Nonet includes Steve Slagle on alto sax, Ralph Lalama on tenor sax, Gary Smulyan on baritone sax, Barry Ries on trumpet, Larry Farrell on trombone, James Weidman on piano, Cameron Brown on bass, Lewis Nash on drums,  This is his third appearance at the Litchfield Jazz Festival.