American saxophone player Joe Lovano has recorded a new album with his quintet Us Five.
The release named Cross Culture consists of eleven compositions, ten of which are Lovano’s originals and one jazz standard, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Star Crossed Lovers.
Cross Culture is Lovano’s third album with this ensemble, after Folk Art (2009) and Bird Songs (2011).
Joe Lovano often describes Us Five as a band that can play everything in every moment, which was once more proven by the band members on this album. The album was recorded in expanded concert setting with drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III, pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding, and Peter Slavov, and gutarist Lionel Loueke.
Lovano preferred group interplay on this album instead of solo improvisations, though there is that, too. Compositions In a Spin and Journey Within are inspired by music of his long time collaborator Paul Motian, and by listening to them one gets the impression that they are being written on the spot, though they are thoughtfully composed in Lovano and Loueke’s style.
The ensemble started the promotion of the new album on 19 January in Pennsylvania where they played the first of few dozen concerts planed for 2013. Watch a concert footage taken at the German festival Jazzwoche Burghausen 2011.