Described by DownBeat magazine as “the titan among us,” GRAMMY Award-winning saxophonist. Now an SFJAZZ resident artistic director, Joe Lovano joins the reigning Cuban piano genius and key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz in this first-time duo collaboration that bridges musical and cultural borders. Valdés is a singular figure in the history of Cuban jazz, a vanguard player and composer who has continued to expand the synthesis of Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms and post-bop since co-founding the iconic and pervasively influential band Irakere in the early 1970s. He’s released a series of albums on Blue Note that brilliantly capture his awesome keyboard prowess and torrential improvisational flights. Lovano is the rightful heir to the tenor titan lineage that runs from Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon to John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Together, Lovano and Valdés are traveling beyond genre and style to a rarified realm that’s pure inspiration.
Lovano has become the most acclaimed saxophonist and composer in modern jazz, winning a 2010 triple crown in the DownBeat Critics Poll for Jazz Artist of the Year, Tenor Saxophonist, and Jazz Group for his Us Five quintet. He had long-term collaborations with the late drummer Paul Motian and guitarist John Scofield, and has performed with innumerable jazz greats including Jim Hall, Elvin Jones, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Charlie Haden. A prolific bandleader, Lovano has released nearly 30 albums including 20 for Blue Note alone — more than any other living artist. He was a member of the SFJAZZ Collective from 2007–2009, and was a recipient of both a Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate from Berklee.
Joe Lovano tenor saxophone
Chucho Valdés piano